The 2012 Belmont Stakes won't have a climactic Affirmed-slipping-past-Alydar moment, but I'll Have Another and his enormous new fanbase are probably just fine making that trade for heightened Triple Crown odds. Don't get me wrong: It might be nice to witness a new Triple Crown rivalry for the ages, but it's only with Bodemeister out of the race-after narrow second-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes-that I'll Have Another has become a favorite to win the Belmont Stakes and go down in history like Affirmed-sans-Alydar.
Horse racing in general, now more than 30 years without a popular champion, is probably equally willing to make that trade. Where Big Brown, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones all failed, I'll Have Another could succeed-in becoming the horse that gets at least a few casual young fans into the sport, and that gives a new generation of casual fans a chance to witness history (and then spend the next 30 years or so boring their children about it.)
More 2012 Belmont Stakes coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Also willing to make that trade: NBC, who will see a ratings bonanza from the Belmont Stakes no matter what thanks to Triple Crown fever.
- Why's it so hard to finish a Triple Crown run? The easy answer: The Belmont Stakes are a grueling anachronism.