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Belmont Stakes: Shackleford, Animal Kingdom Duel For Third Jewel Of Triple Crown

For those that have paid close attention to the Triple Crown this spring, plenty of big names will pop out from the list of contenders for the 2011 Belmont Stakes: Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, Nehro, and Mucho Macho Man are all slated to race on Saturday, June 11.

Shackleford, the winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes, looks to take down the third jewel in the Triple Crown for trainer Dale Romans.

The Belmont Stakes is a different type of race, one that is truly difficult to prepare for. At 1 1/2 miles, it is the longest leg of the Triple Crown. While Shackleford won the 1 3/16 mile Preakness with a time of 1:56.47, last year's Belmont Stakes winner, Drosselmeyer, finished the race at 2:31.57.

It's difficult to predict who will win this race amongst the field of horses tentatively scheduled to appear. Animal Kingdom showcased a flair for dramatics during the Preakness, nearly coming all the way from the back of the pack to take the victory from Shackleford. Will jockey John Velazquez have Animal Kingdom ready to win such a long race?

Those who are carefully gambling on this race would be wise to pay close attention to Nehro, the horse that nearly won the Kentucky Derby. All reports out of his camp are indicating that he is ready to run an excellent race on Saturday.

The 2011 Belmont Stakes has a post time of approximately 6:36 PM on Saturday. It is the 11th race of the afternoon for those keeping track. The race will be broadcast on NBC.

For more on the art of horse racing, check out And Down The Stretch They Come, SB Nation's horse racing blog.