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Animal Kingdom, The Preakness And What It Means For The Belmont Stakes

If the 2011 Belmont Stakes is going to have real meaning, then Animal Kingdom has to win the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, May 21, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The Belmont, held at New York's Belmont Park, is the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. As such, when there is a potential Triple Crown at stake the Belmont is a huge event. When there is not, the race is often just an afterthought.

Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, is of course the only horse who can bring the potential for a Triple Crown to Belmont next month. Trained by Graham Motion, the Kentucky Derby champion is currently a 2-1 favorite in the betting line, according to the Daily Racing Form.

There have been 11 Triple Crown winners in horse racing history, none since 1978 when Affirmed accomplished the feat. Eighteen other times horses have entered the Belmont Stakes with an opportunity for a Triple Crown and been denied, including six times since 1997. Those horses are:

  • Silver Charm (1997)
  • Real Quiet (1998)
  • Charismatic (1999)
  • War Emblem (2002)
  • Funny Cide (2003)
  • Smarty Jones (2004)

Here are the current odds, in alphabetical order by horse name. These will change following Wednesday's post-position draw:

Animal Kingdom 2-1
Astrology 15-1
Concealed Identity 30-1
Dance City 15-1
Dialed In 6-1
Flashpoint 20-1
Isn't He Perfect 50-1
King Congie 20-1
Midnight Interlude 15-1
Mr. Commons 20-1
Mucho Macho Man 6-1
Norman Asbjornson 30-1
Saratoga Red 50-1
Shackleford 12-1
Sway Away 20-1

The 2011 Preakness Stakes gets underway on May 21 at Pimlico racetrack. Stay with SB Nation's 2011 Preakness Stakes StoryStream formore coverage. To look back at the Derby, check out SB Nation's 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream. Also, our horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come has two must-read resources for Derby and Preakness fans: A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.