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Belmont Stakes 2012: Can Dullahan Spoil Triple Crown Party?

Can Dullahan outrun I'll Have Another Saturday during the 2012 Belmont Stakes, spoiling I'll Have Another's bid to become horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978? Dullahan finished an impressive third a length-and-a-half back in the Kentucky Derby despite a difficult trip and has been established as the 5-1 second choice in the early Watchmaker Odds.

Dullahan was knocked around at the start of the Derby, then forced to go seven-wide to challenge I'll Have Another on the race's final turn.

"Our horse showed up as we knew he would in the Derby," said Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing, which owns Dullahan. "When you put a horse out on the track in a 20-horse field, crazy things can happen that keep you from being able to win the race. It's pretty simple."

Dullahan's handlers decided to skip the Preakness Stakes after not winning the Kentucky Derby, with Crawford saying "If your horse doesn't have a chance for the Triple Crown and you think you may have the best 3-year-old in the country, I don't think you run your horse three times in five weeks."

With that kind of confidence in the horse there was no way Dullahan was going to be held out of the Belmont.

"Well, it could just as easily have been us going for the Triple Crown," Crawford said, "and if it were, I would expect the best horses in the world to come and try and make sure we deserve the Triple Crown. I think you owe that to the Secretariats and Affirmeds of the world and the history of the sport."

Trainer Dale Romans also expressed confidence in Dullahan heading into the Belmont.

"I think we're the horse to beat," Romans said. "I'm happy with my position," he said. "I wouldn't change places with anybody in this race."

Dullahan, who won the 11/8-mile Kentucky Blue Grass Stakes earlier this year, will be ridden by Javier Castellano.