The 144th Belmont Stakes takes place this weekend. Here is a quick news roundup of the main storylines heading into Saturday's race:
All Eyes On I'll Have Another
I'll Have Another is on a mission to become the first horse since 1978 to win the coveted Triple Crown: wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in one year. The Belmont Stakes will be I'll Have Another's ninth race and it is the horse's first race that he has ever been favored in; his odds lead the field at 4-5.
Long Distance For All 12 Horses
The Belmont Stakes' 1.5 mile distance is the longest course among the Triple Crown races. Additionally, this distance is the longest each of the 2012 participant horses have ever raced in their career. Some horses racing Saturday, including Union Rags, are built for certain race distances; Union Rags' progeny is optimized for a race of up to 1/8 miles. Union Rags' trainer Michael Matz said that his horse's mother's side will help him reach the long distance of the Belmont Stakes.
Dullahan Could Play Spoiler
Dullahan impressed onlookers in the chestnut's half-mile workout last Sunday. According to BloodHorse.com, Dullahan looked relaxed and duplicated his pre-race workout from the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, a race he eventually won. Dullahan finished third in the Kentucky Derby, but did not race in the Preakness.
For more in depth discussion, analysis, and predictions for the Belmont Stakes and all of horse racing in general, make sure to check out SB Nation's hopelessly devouted horse racing blog, And Down The Stretch They Come.