All of the inside scoop on Virginia's biggest day of Steeplechase racing -- the Virginia Gold Cup. Hey, 50,000 of your closest friends can't be wrong! Do you have your tickets yet?

Friday, June 10, 2011


SHACKLEFORD (Al Bello/Getty)
Twelve three-year-olds will look to win the carnations in the $1 million Belmont Stakes, the final leg of horse racing Triple Crown.  Although there will be no Triple Crown winner again this year, the Belmont field includes Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford.

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.

To see the full field, click here.

To read more, click here.

The Gold Cup blog likes Animal Kingdom, Nehro and Master of Foxhounds – in that order!  That said, if Shackleford will rate, he wins in a gallop…

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