Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom was looking to become the first horse since 1995 to win the first and third races of the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. Thanks to a near-catastrophe, he almost failed to finish.
Animal Kingdom broke very poorly, lagging behind a pack after slowly breaking from the No. 9 post position, then clipping the heel of Monzon as he tried to find room to run. That clip jerked the horse's neck up, and pulled jockey John Velazquez out of his stirrups as he tried to control him.
Velazquez was able to regain control and stay in the saddle, but because of that start, Animal Kingdom was forced to come from far behind the field. Ultimately, his outside run fell short at the end, despite briefly looking game enough to challenge for the lead.
Animal Kingdom, the odds-on favorite at post time at 5-2, finished sixth, one spot behind Preakness winner Shackleford.
Look back on our 2011 Preakness StoryStream to get up to speed 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 Belmont fans: A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.