2012 Belmont Stakes Vegas Odds and Free Picks – Favorites, Dark Horses and Sleepers to Win the 144th Belmont: In 1978, Affirmed became the 11th horse to win the Triple Crown. Thirty-four years later, horse racing is still waiting for its next Triple Crown winner. I’ll Have Another has a chance to snap the drought this weekend, when he attempts to follow his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with a win in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. The underdog horse has already defied the odds by even being in this position, but recent history suggests that magical run for the Triple Crown will fall by wayside on the 1 ½-mile track in New York.

Since Affirmed joined the list of Triple Crown winner in ’78, eleven horses have headed to the Belmont in the same position I’ll Have Another sits in this weekend. All 11 failed to win the Triple Crown. The most recent horse to have a chance was Big Brown in 2008, but foot issues forced his jockey to ease him heading into the stretch run. Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and Smarty Jones (2004) have been the closest to achieving immortality during the drought, with each horse losing the Belmont by a length or less.

If I’ll Have Another is going to end the drought and make history this weekend, it is going to take a flawless performance from everyone involved. The horse’s eating habits will be monitored down to the bite, and his warm-up runs have to be effective but not over-exerting. Jockey Mario Gutierrez knew exactly when to turn the horse loose in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He has to stay patient and time the final push perfectly one more time. All the stars have to align for history to be made.

The Favorite – 2012 Belmont Stakes Odds, Free Picks and Predictions

It comes down to this weekend’s race for I’ll Have Another. On the plus side, his top rival Bodemeister is not going to be competing this weekend. On the other hand, there are several strong horses in the field that have been resting while I’ll Have Another was winning the Preakness Stakes. Not to mention the fact that the last 11 horses that have tried to pull off this Triple Crown thing have failed. History may not be on his side, but there is still no other horse that deserves to be the favorite this weekend.

The Dark Horses – 2012 Belmont Stakes Odds, Free Picks and Predictions

Bob Baffert knows a thing or two about seeing Triple Crown hopes dashed. The trainer won’t run Bodemeister in the Belmont, but he will send Paynter into the fight. The horse didn’t run as a two year old, but his four starts this year have been encouraging. Paynter won his debut race, finished second in the Derby Trial and crushed the field in the Preakness undercard. The horse has posted fast times in his workouts for the Belmont, and the well-rested and steadily improving horse could prevent a Triple Crown winner this weekend.

There have been high expectations for Union Rags since his win at Champagne earlier this year and his runner-up effort in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. However, the horse disappointed in the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby, getting boxed in and failing to work through traffic. At this point, it is somewhat of an unknown as to whether or not Union Rags is the potential force everyone thought he would or just an underachiever. In the smaller Belmont field, should have a chance to answer the questions this weekend.

After a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby when he was closing hard on the top two, Dullahan passed on the Preakness. The horse will be back in the field for the Belmont, and he could cause problems for I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown bid. Dullahan has looked comfortable in morning workouts on the Belmont’s tricky sandy surface, posting consistently fast splits. The horse’s stamina looked first class in the Kentucky Derby, and heading into the longest leg of the Triple Crown, Dullahan could I’ll Have Another a taste of his own medicine with a late surge.

The Sleeper – 2012 Belmont Stakes Odds, Free Picks and Predictions

Although he underwhelmed in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Optimizer was bred to be a distance runner. Races don’t get any longer than the Belmont, and while he failed to keep up with the frontrunners in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, he could come to life in the added distance of Saturday’s race. Even in some of his poor finishes, Optimizer was moving forward in the final stages. If he can stay within striking distance of the lead, his closing burst could be enough to deliver the upset.

Updated Odds to Win the 2012 Belmont Stakes
5751 Atigun +3000
5752 Dullahan +400
5753 Five Sixteen +4500
5754 Guyana Star Dweej +4500
5755 I’LL Have Another +125
5756 My Adonis +1750
5757 Optimizer +3000
5758 Paynter +800
5759 Revelos Boy +4500
5760 Street Life +1250
5761 Union Rags +400
5762 Unstoppable U +2800

Check updated 2012 Belmont Stakes Odds and updated 2012 Belmont Stakes Predictions from the National Sports Advisors!

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