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Belmont Stakes 2011 Contenders: A Look At The Field

Twelve horses are scheduled to go to the post Saturday in the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont. Most of the pre-race attention has been paid to the matchup between Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, the 2-1 morning line pre-race favorite, and Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford, a 9-2 third choice in the morning line. There are, however, 10 other horses -- several with legitimate chances to end up in the winner's circle. Let's look at the entire field, by post position.

1. Master of Hounds
Owner: Mrs. John Magnier
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Kentucky Derby: 5th
Morning Line: 10-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 8-1

Master of Hounds has been training in Ireland since the Kentucky Derby, and is expected to handle the distance of the Belmont well. The question will be whether he has enough to run down Animal Kingdom or Shackleford at the end.

"He’ll definitely put up a good show here. The 1 ½ miles will hit him on the head.," said T.J. Comerford, an assistant to owner Aidan O'Brien. "The reason we’re coming here is he really ran well in the Kentucky Derby."

2. Stay Thirsty
Owner: Repole Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Kentucky Derby: 12th
Morning Line: 20-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 20-1

This horse has not been incredibly competitive in its four Grade 1 starts, but Belmont Park is the home track for Stay Thirsty.

3. Ruler On Ice
Owner: George and Lori Hall
Trainer: Kelly Breen
Morning Line: 20-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 20-1

Ruler On Ice is making his Triple Crown debut. He ran second in the Federico Tesio and third in the Arkansas Derby. Probably a longshot here.

4. Santiva
Owner: Tom R. Walters
Trainer: Eddie Kenneally
Kentucky Derby: 6th
Morning Line: 15-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 12-1

The Daily Racing Form calls Santiva "a legitimate upset candidate, and should be used in all wagers. DRF also says the horse "boasts a fascinating mix of stamina over speed."

5. Brilliant Speed
Owner: Live Oak Stud
Trainer: Thomas Albertrani
Kentucky Derby: 7th
Morning Line: 15-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 15-1

Brilliant Speed is expected to be able to handle the Belmont distance, but the surface is another matter. He has never run well on dirt.

6. Nehro
Owner: Zayat Stables, LLC
Trainer: Steven Asmussen
Kentucky Derby: 2nd
Morning Line: 4-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 7-2

Bettors looking for someone other than Animal Kingdom or Shackleford are expected to place lots of action on Nehro. Analysts figure Nehro to be in the mix as the race heads down the back stretch.

7. Monzon
Owner: Sagamore Farm
Trainer: Ignacio Correas, IV
Morning Line: 30-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 30-1

Making his Triple Crown debut. Monzon is a longshot, but has the pedigree as he is the son of 1995 Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch.

8. Prime Cut
Owner:  Donald A. Adam
Trainer:  Neil Howard
Morning Line: 15-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 20-1

Another horse making his Triple Crown debut. There are questions about his ability to handle the Belmont's 11/2-mile distance.

9. Animal Kingdom
Owner: Team Valor International
Trainer: H. Graham Motion
Kentucky Derby: 1st
Preakness: 2nd
Morning Line: 2-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 5-2

The pre-race favorite. Animal Kingdom was gaining on Shackleford in the stretch at the Preakness and likely would have run him down with a little more track. That indicates the distance should not be an issue.

10. Mucho Macho Man
Owner: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable
Trainer: Kathy Ritvo
Kentucky Derby: 3rd
Preakness: 6th
Morning Line: 10-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 8-1

Mucho Macho Man could be a popular play on Saturday, but there are questions about his ability to compete at the Belmont distance.

11. Isn't He Perfect
Owner: Kharag Stables
Trainer: Doodnauth Shivmangal
Preakness: 9th
Morning Line: 30-1
Daily Racing Form Odds: 50-1

Well, he isn't perfect. He is the longest shot in the field.

12. Shackleford
Owner: Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge
Trainer: Dale Romans
Kentucky Derby: 4th
Preakness: 1st
Morning Line: 9-2
Daily Racing Form Odds: 9-2

The Preakness winner is expected to be the controlling speed in the race. The question will be whether or not Shackleford can stay in the front for the entire 11/2-mile trip once he gets there.