SundaySaturday, at New York’s Belmont Park, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another will try to become just the eleventh Triple Crown winner, and the first since Affirmed in 1978. (Interesting and surely irrelevant note: I’ll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness by the same margins that Affirmed did in ’78.) Of the twenty-one horses to win both the Derby and the Preakness, eleven have gone on to win the Belmont Stakes. After last week’s post on probability, I’m hesitant to say whether I’ll Have Another has a good shot at winning the Triple Crown after having won the first two races, but his chances have to be better for having done so. That said, I’ll Have Another hasn’t felt like a favorite in any of the two prior races, but neither does he feel like a stranger at this point. With Bodemeister’s withdrawal from the Belmont field, we won’t get to find out what would happen if these two top horses reprised their Derby and Preakness battles. The longer Belmont track would seem to have favored the late-breaking I’ll Have Another over the hard-running Bodemeister, but it could create new timing and endurance challenges for the Triple Crown contender and his young jockey. I don’t know how much Gutierrez keyed on Bodemeister in particular, but one has to expect that the pack’s overall pace will be slower around Belmont Park’s 1.5 mile track than it was in the last two, shorter races.
As with our Kentucky Derby preview (though not so much with the Preakness preview), the following is a collection of online stories and other items to help prepare your viewing experience of this weekend’s Belmont Stakes:
- Television Schedule – Bleacher Report
- Triple Crown Historical Data – Horse-Races.net
- I’ll Have Another tested in the hardest three weeks in sports – Yahoo! Sports
- Belmont Stakes 2012: I’ll Have Another Looks for Triple Crown – SB Nation
- Gutierrez focused approaching Triple Crown bid – NBC Sports
- Union Rags looks to avoid Belmont traffic, spring upset – Chicago Tribune
- In Other Races: Paying Back the Owner of a Triple Crown Hopeful – New York Times
- Playing chicken with horses: With Triple Crown on the line, track workers threaten a Belmont Stakes walkout — then back down – NY Daily News
- ALDLAND’s prior horse racing coverage
I’ll be on the road this weekend, so there will be no live blog of the race. You’re just going to have to watch it by yourself, without the benefit of alternatively insightful and weakly snarky running commentary.