Although the race is still three weeks away and the picture could change, the 137th renewal of the Belmont Stakes June 11 could serve as a rubber match between longshot Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and the courageous Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex
The last time a Kentucky Derby winner hooked up with the Preakness winner in the Belmont Stakes was June 9, 2001. While Derby winner Monarchos
finished third, Preakness winner Point Given
cruised to victory over A P Valentine before a Belmont crowd of 73,857.
According to the New York Racing Association, those two may be joined by any number of new contenders, with the top finishers from Belmont's May 28, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at nine furlongs likely to return in the Belmont Stakes. Chekhov, Golden Man, Mr Sword, Oratory, Reverberate, Robador, Saint Anddan and Survivalist, and possibly Better than Bonds and Confederation are expected to run in the Peter Pan.
NYRA reports that Andromeda's Hero and A.P. Arrow, nominated to the Peter Pan, may wait for the Belmont Stakes. Pinpoint, who won Saturday's Sir Barton at Pimlico, and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buzzards Bay, fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is also likely for the Belmont. Scrappy T, the Preakness runner-up, is questionable for the Belmont Stakes at this point.
In addition to Point Given, other horses to complete the Preakness/Belmont Stakes double are Cloverbrook (1877), Duke of Magenta (1878), Grenada (1880), Saunterer (1881), Belmar (1895), Man o'War (1920), Pillory (1922), Bimelech (1940), Capot (1949), Native Dancer (1953), Nashua (1955), Damascus (1967), Little Current (1974), Risen Star (1988), Hansel (1991) and Tabasco Cat (1994) as.
Giacomo is out to become the 12th horse to complete the Kentucky Derby-Belmont Stakes Double, hoping to join Zev (1923), Twenty Grand (1931), Johnstown (1939), Shut Out (1942), Middleground (1950), Needles (1956), Chateaugay (1963), Riva Ridge (1972), Bold Forbes (1976), Swale (1984) and Thunder Gulch
ESPN will provide undercard coverage on Belmont Stakes Day from 3 p.m., - 5:30 p.m. Eastern. NBC will then take over from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern, with the Belmont Stakes scheduled as race 11 (6:38 p.m. Eastern) of a 13-race card