I'll Have Another's biggest 2012 Belmont Stakes break might have already come when Bodemeister, the Alydar to his Affirmed, dropped out of the race after another near-miss at the Preakness Stakes, but he lost another potential competitor Thursday when Alpha dropped out of the race. The Daily Racing Form suggests a temperature was the culprit, with the illness forcing the horse out of training in the crucial run-up to the New York race.
That leaves 11 horses in the running for the race on June 9, with only sleeper favorite Dullahan and Union Rags still in among the Triple Crown contestant's stakes-winning competitors; in addition to them and I'll Have Another there should be Ravelo's Boy, Unstoppable U, Street Life, Paynter, Optimizer, Guyana Star Dweej, Five Sixteen, and Atigun.
(This may be irrelevant, but Guyana Star Dweej is one of my favorite inexplicable thoroughbred names in a long, long time. Treasure it.)
- Should we be worried about I'll Have Another's inexperienced jockey, Mario Gutierrez?
- My biggest surprise in covering horse-racing: Horses speak human sports cliche fluently.