Bodemeister broke out of the gate quickly in the Kentucky Derby and nearly won the race with a phenomenal wire-to-wire run. In most years, the horse leading the pack after a half-mile eventually fades, but Bodemeister held on until the final 100 yards. I'll Have Another made a late surge and passed Bodemeister, who didn't have enough speed down the stretch to hold off the eventual Derby winner.
I'll Have Another and his shot at the Triple Crown is the biggest story heading into the Preakness Stakes, but the secondary plotline on Saturday will be the potential budding rivalry between the Derby winner and Bodemeister.
The Preakness occupies an odd position. Whereas the Derby presents 20 storylines, the Preakness generally has just one: can the Derby winner win again? Any other outcome -- however sensational (Afleet Alex, Rachel Alexandra) -- deflates the game and renders the Belmont Stakes essentially meaningless, which has happened for the last three years and six of the last seven.
This year we have a potential rivalry.
A rivalry can't make the Belmont Stakes a relevant mainstream event by itself. I'll Have Another has to win the Preakness for that to happen, but another close race between the two horses will make for the most memorable Preakness Stakes and most watchable Belmont Stakes in recent history.