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Belmont Stakes Post Position Reaction: I'll Have Another 'Doing Great,' Paynter Looms As Potential Challenger

Several trainers and owners reacted to the 2012 Belmont Stakes post positions on Wednesday, hours after the post positions were released.

I'll Have Another has already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and would become the first Triple Crown Winner since 1978 if it can win Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Trainer Doug O'Neill said the horse is in great shape entering the final step on his quest to obtain history.

"It's been an unbelievable ride, and I think we've just stayed focused on the whole journey because of the great I'll Have Another. I have obviously got caught up in some other issues on the side and got cleared of any wrongdoing, still kind of goofy a little bit. But everything's going good and we every day give thanks to be part of the I'll Have Another team."

"He's doing great. He's continued to gallop good, his energy's been good, his appetite's been strong, and he's handled this whole journey as good as you could possibly ask a horse. He hasn't lost a bit of his flesh at all, his coat continues to shine and look great, so we couldn't ask for him to be coming in to this any better."

[On whether he's talked to jockey Mario Gutierrez about how the race would set up] Not really. We're going to huddle up and talk; being in the 11th hole, we're able to kind of see how the pace sets up. If they're crawling, we'll hopefully be leading the crawl, and if they're flying, we'll be sitting in behind the horses flying."

"Mario is just such a confident rider and he's so confident in I'll Have Another. They get along so well, so we're in good shape."

Jerry Crawford, managing partner for the stable which owns Dullahan, the second favorite behind I'll Have Another, said his horse is strong after skipping the Preakness to train for the Belmont Stakes.

Paynter owner Ahmed Zayat made an interesting comment, saying the horse's trainer has felt from day one that Paynter is a better horse than Bodemeister. Bodemeister, of course, finished second to I'll Have Another in both the Derby and the Preakness.

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For more on the 2012 Belmont Stakes, please be sure to check out our blog And Down The Stretch They Come along with SB Nation New York for all the latest news and updates.