|SHACKLEFORD (Al Bello/Getty Images)|
For the 22nd time in history, the Belmont Stakes will serve as the rubber match between the individual winners of the first two races in the Triple Crown. The scorecard, in terms of Belmont wins, reads Preakness 10, Derby 5, with Afleet Alex the most recent Preakness winner to vanquish the Derby victor, taking the 2005 Belmont in which Giacomo, longshot winner of the Run for the Roses, finished seventh.
One has to go back to 1984, when Swale bested Preakness winner Gate Dancer, for a Belmont in which the Derby winner emerged victorious in a showdown. In spite of history, Animal Kingdom was tabbed the 2-1 favorite by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) oddsmaker Eric Donovan, with Shackleford the third choice at 9-2 in the 12-horse field.
The Belmont Stakes has a 6:35 pm post time and will be telecast nationally on NBC beginning at 5 p.m., with coverage on VERSUS from 3-5 p.m. VERSUS will also carry post-race coverage from 7-7:30 p.m.
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The T.A.H. Worldwide Media handicapper likes Animal Kingdom, Nehro and Master of Foxhounds – in that order! That said, if Shackleford will rate to a moderate pace, he wins in a gallop…