Commentary

Analyzing the Belmont field

Animal Kingdom will be the likely favorite in Triple Crown's third leg

Updated: May 22, 2011, 7:10 PM ET
By Lane Gold | ESPN Insider
ShacklefordRichard Mackson/US PresswirePreakness winner Shackleford and Derby winner Animal Kingdom are expected to be in the Belmont.

Animal Kingdom made a valiant run in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, but fell just short of keeping a Triple Crown run alive. Even though there won't be any history on the line in just under three weeks, it appears a good field is taking shape.

In the past few years, we have seen the Belmont Stakes field not include the Kentucky Derby and/or Preakness winner but that could change this year. It appears that Animal Kingdom and Shackleford are being pointed for another rematch in New York. Surprisingly it would be only the 20th time the Derby and Preakness winners would square off in the Belmont.

In addition, there are usually a handful of horses that skipped the Preakness or will make their Triple Crown debut in the "Test of Champions." Here is a breakdown of what the Belmont field might look like:

Derby and Preakness horses

Animal Kingdom (first Kentucky Derby, second Preakness) -- When the Derby winner dropped back to next-to-last in the early running of the Preakness, it may have cost him a chance to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown. But he certainly validated his Derby win and silenced any doubters.

The additional distance of the Belmont, which is run at 1.5 miles, should prove beneficial to the colt who has yet to finish worse than second in six career starts. He will likely be the Belmont favorite.

Shackleford (fourth Derby, first Preakness) -- Trainer Dale Romans, who celebrated with his first Triple Crown victory, has shipped the Preakness winner back to his Churchill Downs home but it appears he will tangle with Animal Kingdom for a third time.

Lane Gold

ESPN Insider

A lifelong horse racing fan, Lane Gold hosts a weekly radio show called the Kentucky Winner's Circle and has a horse racing blog.