Preakness Contenders 2012: I'll Have Another Has Legit Shot at Triple Crown

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMay 16, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05:  Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No horse has won racing's Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, but I'll Have Another has a legitimate shot to do just that.

After his heart-stopping comeback at the Kentucky Derby, I'll Have Another certainly appears to be head-and-shoulders ahead of the competition entering this week's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. 

The Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races at nine-and-a-half furlongs. Bodemeister—the horse that led for most of the Derby—will be entered and could be the favorite come race time. I'll Have Another will likely have to fend of Bob Baffert's top horse to win the Preakness, but I don't see that being much of a problem. 

Some think he'll have an issue with a shorter race like the Preakness because of the closing ability he showed in the Derby. But if 25-year-old jockey Mario Gutierrez can somehow get him to start that late push a little earlier, I'll Have Another will be able to blow past the field this weekend.

Where the horse will have difficulty is at the incredibly long Belmont Stakes. Belmont is 12 furlongs and while some love I'll Have Another's ability at a distance, Belmont is where Triple Crown dreams go to die.

Still, very few horses have what it takes to win all three races, especially on the long track at Belmont. I'll Have Another is one of those few who have the ability to win a longer race. 

The Preakness isn't a great fit for I'll Have Another's style, but I think he can pull it off. If he does, he'll have the best chance in a while to win a Triple Crown thanks to his ability on longer tracks. Still, conquering Belmont is a tough test for anyone.