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2012 Belmont Picks
**Note - I'll have another has been scratched
The 144th running of the Belmont Stakes will take place this Saturday in New York with yet another horse chasing history and trying to become the 12th ever to win the Triple Crown. I'll Have Another is that horse and jockey Mario Gutierrez will ride him again as they look to accomplish what 11 others before them have failed to accomplish since Affirmed completed the feat in 1978.
I'll Have Another won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in dramatic fashion, taking the Kentucky Derby at 15/1 odds and the Preakness Stakes at 3/1. He came from behind to pass Bodemeister both times and enters the Belmont as a 4/5 morning-line favorite. Trainer Doug O'Neill got a scare last week when a loose horse nearly slammed into I'll Have Another during training at Belmont Park, but he escaped without a collision and will now attempt to beat 11 other horses there in the final leg.
Bodemeister will not be one of those horses, so Dullahan is the 5/1 second choice with Union Rags closely behind at 6/1 and Paynter following at 8/1. Street Life is the only other horse with less than 20/1 odds at 12/1. Optimizer (20/1), My Adonis (20/1), Unstoppable U (30/1), Antigun (30/1), Ravelo's Boy (50/1), Five Sixteen (50/1) and Guyana Star Dweej (50/1) round out the field.
Dullahan finished third in the Kentucky Derby and did not race in the Preakness, saving himself for the mile-and-a-half race at Belmont. Union Rags was one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby, finishing seventh, and also sat out the Preakness.
Even though Bob Baffert's Bodemeister is out, he will have a horse running in Paynter, the son of Awesome Again who went unbeaten in 1998 and won the Breeders' Cup Classic that year. Street Life is the son of Street Sense, who won the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
However, millions of Americans will no doubt be rooting for I'll Have Another to win the Belmont, with many placing a bet on him simply so they can save it as what they hope will be a timeless souvenir. Gutierrez is a story in himself, rising from the poverty in Mexico to become one of the sport's most likeable stars. Riding atop what could be the next Triple Crown winner, he and O'Neill have gotten plenty of attention over the past month. Gutierrez will get his feet wet at Belmont on Friday when he rides in five different races on the schedule in preparation for the big one.
Our Belmont Stakes Picks:
Exacta Box: I'll Have Anaother, Union Rags, Dullahan, Paynter
***Note that this article and our picks were done BEFORE I'll Have Another was scratched. The race now becomes pretty wide open. In place of I'll Have Another in our exacta box we'll use Street Life.
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