I’ll Have Another now one victory shy of the Triple Crown

It’s only been four years since a thoroughbred came within a victory at the Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown.

And it’s been 34 years since a thoroughbred actually accomplished the historic feat.

After winning the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago and the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, I’ll Have Another is one victory shy of capturing horse racing’s Triple Crown. If he can will the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9, he will have done something that no other horse has accomplished since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978.

What’s impressive about I’ll Have Another is that he has seemingly come out of nowhere despite having a massive amount of success in his last four outings. Despite winning the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 4 and the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7, I’ll Have Another wasn’t among the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby. And even though he beat out Bodemeister at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, he wasn’t favored to win the Preakness either.

But maybe after jockey Mario Gutierrez once again made all of the right decisions down the stretch at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, I’ll Have Another will finally get the respect he deserves. For the second time in two weeks, Bodemeister held a lead while heading down the stretch, only to be edged out by I’ll Have Another each time. On Saturday, I’ll Have Another’s victory officially came by a neck after Bodemeister looked like he was going to win easily.

Horse racing doesn’t match the popularity of the four major U.S. sports, or even the UFC for that matter. But if you’re a general sports fan, tune in to the 2012 Belmont Stakes in a few weeks because you could witness history.

2012 Preakness Stakes Winners: 1. I’ll Have Another; 2. Bodemeister; 3. Creative Cause; 4. Zetterholm; 5. Teeth of the Dog; 6. Optimizer; 7. Cozzetti; 8. Tiger Walk; 9. Daddy Nose Best; 10. Went The Day Well; 11. Pretension.

2012 Preakness Stakes Payouts:

I’ll Have Another $8.40 $3.20 $2.80
Bodemeister $3.20 $2.80
Creative Cause $3.60

2.00 EXACTA 9-7 $18.60
1.00 TRIFECTA 9-7-6 $35.40
1.00 SUPERFECTA 9-7-6-4 $424.30

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2012 Preakness Stakes Predictions

After predicting two of the three Kentucky Derby contenders to finish in the money, it’s virtually a guarantee that none of these horses will win anything of substance in this evening’s Preakness Stakes. Book it.

WIN: Bodemeister (3/2)
This is an impressive horse. He finished second behind I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby but he’s never finished lower than second in any of his five career races. He ran out of steam at Churchill Downs two weeks ago but he also had the lead for half the race. I love the trainer-jockey combination of Bob Baffert and Mike Smith, and while taking the chalk isn’t very adventurous I can’t envision a scenario where Bodemeister doesn’t finish in the money. He’s the best of a very weak Preakness field.

PLACE: Creative Cause (13/2)
I admit Creative Cause wasn’t on my radar two weeks ago when predicting the Kentucky Derby. But after going back and taking a look at his race history, he could wind up winning tonight if everything breaks right. Eight of his nine career outings were graded races and his fifth place finish at the Derby was his worst showing to date. Previous to that, he never finished lower than third and was victorious at the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, the Grade I Norfolk Stakes and the Grade II Best Pal Stakes. While he isn’t technically a long shot at 13/2, this is my pick to surprise tonight.

SHOW: I’ll Have Another (3/1)
I’ll Have Another has won his last three races – including the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago – and he still can’t get any love. For whatever reason, people aren’t overly impressed by this horse, despite the fact that he hasn’t lost since his sixth place finish at the Grade I Three Chimney’s Hopeful Stakes on September 5 of last year. Seeing as how I have him finishing in the money but not winning the Preakness Stakes, you’d have to count me among those that aren’t enamored with this contender. I think he’ll place somewhere in the top 3 but Bodemeister is still a better looking horse.

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