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Belmont Stakes 2012: I'll Have Another Is Ready For Belmont's Length; Is Mario Gutierrez?

The 2012 Belmont Stakes, thanks to the Triple Crown alarm being pulled, is being viewed entirely through one horse, as happens whenever the same one wins the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes; as a result all the annual topics of discussion—especially the race's gargantuan 1 1/2 mile length—are being filtered through I'll Have Another in particular, even though every horse will have to deal with the same issues on race day.

The good news, then, is that I'll Have Another, according to recent reports, is prepared for the grueling Stakes. At least, he's as prepared as all the other horses, which makes him as much a threat to win the Triple Crown as he would be if its last jewel were held in Kentucky or on any other familiar track.

The real question, I guess, is whether the human in the equation, trainer Mario Gutierrez, is able to adapt as well as his competitors. That's a question worth asking, and you can rest assured that everyone is asking it. Some examples:

For more Belmont Stakes 2012 news, coverage, and analysis, check out our Belmont Stakes storystream.