Belmont Stakes

Saturday June 11, 2011: Belmont Park

Animal Kingdom, who won the Kentucky Derby and finished second in the Preakness, comes onto the track as the favorite in the Belmont Stakes. His trainer, Graham Motion, is at far right.

Isn't He Perfect, who finished ninth in the Preakness, has a new rider for the Belmont Stakes, Rajiv Maragh.
Monzon, Jose Lezcano up, heads to the post parade, followed by Prime Cut with Edgar Prado. These two horses and Ruler On Ice were the only Belmont contenders who didn't run in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.

As the race begins, Isn't He Perfect (#11) veers to his left, pushing Mucho Macho Man into Animal Kingdom and forcing both horses to the back of the field. #12 is Preakness winner and Derby contender Shackleford; the others, from right (#5) to left, are Brilliant Speed, Nehro and Prime Cut.

Animal Kingdom's rider, John Velazquez (far left), who lost a stirrup when his horse was bumped and stumbled, struggles to regain his balance. Mucho Macho Man (#10) was ridden by Rajiv Maragh in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but Maragh was replaced by Ramon Dominguez for the Belmont.
After passing pacesetter Shackleford in the stretch, Ruler On Ice (left, with Jose Valdivia Jr.) and Stay Thirsty (Javier Castellano up) battle for the lead.

Ruler On Ice, with the third-longest odds in the twelve-horse field, wins by three quarters of a length. Stay Thirsty held on for second, followed by Brilliant Speed.
Jose Valdivia Jr. celebrates the win, his first in a Triple Crown race.
Ramon Dominguez returns after a seventh-place finish on Mucho Macho Man, one of just three horses to run in all three Triple Crown races.

Nehro and his jockey, Corey Nakatani, return covered in mud after finishing fourth on the sloppy track. Nehro, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby, was the bettors' second choice going into the Belmont.
After a start that robbed him of any chance to win the race, Animal Kingdom finishes sixth. Rajiv Maragh was given a suspension for careless riding on Isn't He Perfect.
Trainer Kelly Breen tries to lead a reluctant Ruler On Ice--who refused to wear the victory blanket of white carnations-- to the winner's circle.
Lori Hall, along with her husband, George, owns Ruler On Ice, a gelded son of Roman Ruler.
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