The preamble to the 2012 Belmont Stakes is more busy than ever—even adjusting for the fact that this is a possible Triple Crown year. I'll Have Another, the lucky horse, finds himself racing under the cloud of his trainer Doug O'Neill's imminent suspension over alleged doping violations for another horse. As rules attempting to prevent the same thing tightened at Belmont it even became necessary to ask O'Neill whether he felt he was being discriminated against. It's the kind of thing that could make even a Triple Crown win tarnished by scandal, right?
I don't think so. Shadiness and dark clouds are only called troubling or concerning in scenarios like this one until the athlete wins; if I'll Have Another takes the Triple Crown, they'll morph rapidly into the kind of capital-A, morally unimpeachable Adversity that fits beautifully into a movie about, say, Seabiscuit or Roy Hobbs. If he loses, we'll forget about this; if he wins, we'll call it the part in the Disney movie where it suddenly seems like everything is falling apart, only for all the complications to stop mattering by the time the credits roll.
More Belmont Stakes 2012 coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- New York also bans nasal strips, which might be bad news for the typically breathed-right I'll Have Another.
- Whatever happens, NBC is probably extremely happy about its Triple Crown ratings bonanza.