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Belmont Stakes 2012: I'll Have Another Owes Triple Crown Chances To Bodemeister

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: