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2012 Belmont Stakes Preview — I’ll Have Another Scratched, So Who’s the New Favorite?

Belmont Park
Al Bello, Getty Images

With Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another scratched,  11 other horses will have an opportunity to win at the 144th Belmont Stakes on Saturday.  The scratch cost I’ll Have Another his chance to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. The other horses will now race for their share of the $1 million purse.

Here’s a preview of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Note: Updated odds included at 4 p.m. EDT, June 9):

With I’ll Have Another out, the horses most likely to win the Belmont are Dullahan and Union Rags.

Dullahan’s odds were at 5-1. The horse, which finished third in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness, has looked very lively under new rider Javier Castellano. Castellano replaced Kent Desormeaux, who failed a breath test May 18. The morning odds place him at 9-5 to win.

Union Rags was set at 6-1 odds for the Belmont. The horse, which was seventh at the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness, has the speed, but there are questions as to whether or not it can maintain a pace around the spacious, one-and-a-half-mile Belmont track. Union Rags is at 3-1 odds.

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Optimizer, who did not finish in the money at the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, is a distant threat to the top two and may race at 15-1 odds. The remaining horses in the Belmont field — Paynter, Atigun, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, My Adonis, Ravelo’s Boy, Street Life and Unstoppable U — did not run in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness. Paynter is the most notable of that group at 7-2 odds.

I’ll Have Another’s scratch means that since 1978, 12 horses have now won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but failed in the Belmont.

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