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Belmont Stakes 2012: Challengers To I'll Have Another At Belmont

Following wins at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, horse racing's newest sweetheart I'll Have Another is only a win away from capturing the first Triple Crown in horse racing since 1978.

Bodemeister, the horse who I'll Have Another dramatically pulled ahead of in both of the first two legs will not be entering the Belmont Stakes, according to his trainer, Bob Baffert.

His comments via USA Today:

Bob Baffert, winner of five Preakness Stakes and trainer of Bodemeister, said I'll Have Another's win is good for the sport and good for the Belmont.

"The winner's a good horse," Baffert said. "He'll get the respect now that he deserves. I'm proud that as a trainer my horse showed up and he ran his race. He just got beat."

Baffert said he will not send Bodemeister to the Belmont Stakes. "I wasn't going to go, win lose or draw," he said. "I've run him pretty hard."

So now fans are left asking themselves who will try to keep I'll Have Another from accomplishing the Triple Crown dream.

According to BloodHorse.com, fans can expect Union Rags, Dullahan and Mark Valeski to be the primary challengers to I'll Have Another, but the horse could potentially have up to 12 challengers at the mile-and-half track at the Stakes.

BelmontStakes.com expects the following to be likely for the event: Optimizer, Paynter, Alpha, Atigun, Dullahan, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Mark Valeski, Rousing Sermon, Stealcase, Street Life and Union Rags.

For more on I'll Have Another's quest for the 2012 Triple Crown, stay with this StoryStream.