Elmont, NY - Instead a looking at a possible Triple Crown winner this weekend, those planning on watching the 144th Running of the Belmont Stakes got a triple shock yesterday as I'll Have Another took to retirement after experiencing issues with the onset of tendonitis.
The race will still be run and there is a lot to look forward to as the odds will now shift a bit. Dullahan will be the betting favorite in the field.
Look for Paynter and Unstoppable U to turn on the heat early as front runners. Jockey Mike Smith should be giving Paynter a ride just like he did with Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. This horse is trained by Bob Baffert and this past Wednesday Baffert said, "I thought Paynter was a much better horse than Bodemeister initially." Paynter's odds are at 8/1 and he should still be to the front coming around the backside. He'll try for the lead over Unstoppable U and My Adonis coming out of the far turn.
Those running at mid-pack will be Guyana Star Dweej, Dullahan, Antigun, Five Sixteen, Street Life and Optimizer with Union Rags to the back.
Down the stretch I believe Paynter will be on the lead, until jockey John Velazquez asks Union Rags to go, and it will be a dual to the finish between Dullahan and Union Rags.
Despite Union Rags having problems in the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby, with a little bit more track and less traffic he should prove a major player in this race.
This morning weather reports were calling for 40% chance of rain. If that becomes the case the top four contenders to run on a wet track are Paynter, who ran on a sloppy track in the Derby Trial. Union Rags, he won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August on a sealed wet track, followed by Guyana Star Dweej, and Optimizer.
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