Scouring every detail with a fine tooth comb is an essential duty of horse racing fans that follow all of the big events. When you carefully analyze each headline, you come up with keys that can make it easier to predict the outcome of a race.
With that, over 10 unique stories have appeared online in the past week that show that the 2012 Belmont Stakes is a strange race this year -- with or without I'll Have Another.
Common 2012 Belmont Stakes knowledge
Of all of the un-commonalities that are surrounding the 2012 Belmont Stakes, a few are well publicized. Namely, Team O'Neill will be throwing a baseball for the start of the New York Mets game the night before the race. Other odd news includes how trainer Doug O'Neill refused to do morning workouts with I'll Have Another.
1. New rules imposed on 2012 Belmont Stakes contenders
It was reported at the end of May by the New York Times that Doug O'Neill would start facing up to the new rules imposed on horses and trainers. Starting June 6, contenders for the 2012 Belmont Stakes submitted to a blood test. This potentially caused a lot of pressure for O'Neill who is facing suspension for a horse-doping incident from 2010. Interestingly, I'll Have Another dropped out on June 7 and may not have been tested at all.
2. I'll Have Another pedicure fundraiser?
Definitely an odd public relations promotion, a fundraiser related to I'll Have Another included purple toenails. Posted on Twitter, if you publish a photo of your purple pedicure, allegedly Team O'Neill will donate $20 to Thoroughbred Charities of America. With the news that I'll Have Another is out of the race, there is currently no news if the purple pedicure photo fundraiser has been canceled.
Updates and photos submissions can be found on Facebook.
3. Rock star entourage for I'll Have Another
The Tucson Citizen reported that the support staff that I'll Have Another took to New York was extravagant -- to the point of being a celebrity-style entourage. In particular, this horse has, "an equine chiropractor and physical therapist. And the entourage, with numbers that can swell to 14, is traveling in style."
Other staff mentioned in the article includes, "an exercise rider, groom and assistant trainer, but also a special hotwalker, another assistant, … a second groom and a second exercise rider … stable's blacksmith."
4. I'll Have Another had a crash?
Before the bad news that the horse would drop out of the Triple Crown run, there was another story about a near-Belmont Stakes fail. CBS reported on May 31 that I'll Have Another was almost injured by a horse that broke loose from the barn. Of course, I'll Have Another was fine.
5. Numerology predicted I'll Have Another fail
Cropping up the week before the race, there were a number of numerology reports read by blogger SaratogaTrack that conveyed there was no way that I'll Have Another could win the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Sure enough, their predictions came true. One of the 11 not-so odd points for why this horse would fail included "The Big Brown Factor."
6. I'll Have Another placed in lockdown
Before he was injured, the possible 2012 Triple Crown winner was no longer suited for common company. Instead, this rare treasure was placed behind bars with a lock and key for his own safety. Sadly, this proved to be the opposite outcome. Could he have been spooked by being in strange quarters? All we can know is that this is where the injury that took I'll Have Another out of the 2012 Belmont Stakes could have occurred.
7. The Triple Crown is tough to win, experts say
A tweet from @BostonGlobe circulated a story about how the Triple Crown is hard to win. Among their reasons for 35 years of repeated Triple Crown failures comes opinions from experts like Blood Horse's Steve Haskin. He tells the Boston Globe that in the past, "Most of the sires were tough stock. We're infusing too much speed into the blood now." The article also states that, "Decades ago, stamina and durability were bred in."
Confirming this observation, Andrew Beyer, of the Washington Post and Daily Racing Form said, "You'll get debate on this point, but horses just aren't as robust as they used to be ... Horses used to run, turn around, and run another stakes race seven days later. Now, trainers want to freshen them up for two months.''
8. 2012 Belmont Stakes longshots, mid-longshots
While most articles are battling over the favorites, others are focused on the underdogs. Part of the reason is due to the high payout you can receive if you bet on the horse most likely to fail. Blogs like TheSpread.com are touting that, "Street Life is considered a mid-range long shot at 14/1," and says that Optimizer is a longshot. SBNation.com is promoting Antigun and Unstoppable U as longshot duos.
9. Weird double jockey unseat at Belmont Park
For the superstitious, there was one strange event that happened before the 2012 Belmont Stakes that could have you bone-chilled. BloodHorse.com reports that jockeys Rosie Napravnik and Irad Ortiz were both unseated during the same race in two separate incidents. This happened on June 7 -- two days before the Belmont Stakes and the same day that I'll Have Another was injured. Ortiz is still received medical treatment.
10. Longshot has a "quirky" trainer
Doodnauth Shivmangal, is known as "Dude" to the horse racing industry and is the owner and trainer of 2012 Belmont Stakes contender Guyana Star Dweej. The New York Times took time to get to know this oddball and mined several endearing facts about him.
Unique insights include the $3,500 price tag for Guyana Star Dweej's sale and the fact that Shivmangal is a former delivery driver. Since he has retired, he tells the NYT, "I buy cheap horses and make them into racehorses."
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