Behind The Belmont: Documenting What Makes The Race Uniquely Difficult

I'll Have Another won't be running in the 2012 Belmont Stakes, having been scratched due to injury. That will make the Belmont a little less exciting, given how good a chance I'll Have Another seemed to have to win the first Triple Crown in 34 years. But it may not make the race less dramatic, as SB Nation's YouTube channel explains in a behind-the-scenes look at the Belmont.

"You don't want to miss something like this," says Bill Turner, trainer of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, "because they don't come around very often." He's talking about Triple Crown bids, but he knows full well how tough the Belmont — which John Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, notes "has been known as the 'graveyard of champions' for a reason" — really is: Seattle Slew became the first horse ever to finish the Triple Crown without ever previously suffering a loss in 1977.

Dullahan's trainer, Dale Romans, says that "Most of these horses have never raced a mile and a half, and most of them will never do it again." It's that length, and the occasionally withering June heat on Long Island, that has stopped the many horses that have claimed the first two jewels of the Triple Crown since Affirmed from finishing the feat at Belmont Park.

That won't be what stops I'll Have Another, but interviews with the horse's owner and jockey help explain the immense scrutiny the potential Triple Crown winner and his team were under from the moment they made it to the Belmont.

And as for the likely Saturday favorite, Dullahan, Romans says his charge is "bred to go the distance" in "one of America's great races."

For more on the Belmont Stakes and the race for the Triple Crown, stay with this StoryStream; for more on I'll Have Another's injury and retirement, follow this StoryStream. Check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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