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Bet on HorsesLooking at Shackleford before the Preakness began, one could not help but wonder if the horse wanted to be in the race at all on Saturday.

But by the time the race was over less than two minutes after it began, the horse that looked like it never wanted to be there had won and spoiled Animal Kingdom's attempt at the Triple Crown. But the two horses may meet again at the Belmont Stakes on June 11, where the two will have a chance at splitting their matchups this year.

After battling Flashpoint for the early lead, Shackleford took command midway through the final turn. The late-race push by Animal Kingdom was almost enough to take the lead, and with a few more meters in the race, he may have done so. But as it was, Shackleford held off and won. Animal Kingdom, though, did overcome a deficit to catch up to and beat the third-place Astrology.

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Although Animal Kingdom had a shot at winning the Preakness, his slow entry out of the gate certainly hampered him the entire race. Coming into the final turn, he started to move pick up the pace, but had no clear shot to the finish line. Picking through the traffic cost valuable fractions of a second, and the Derby winner was just a little too handicapped by his slow start to catch all the way up.

Shackleford held off a late push by the Kentucky Derby winner, coming across the line in 1:56.47 with a half-length lead. A few weeks ago, Shackleford finished fourth at the Derby. The winning horse paid $27.20, $10.20, and $6.80. Second-place Animal Kingdom paid $4.20 and $3.60. And Astrology returned $8.00 to show.

The chances that the two winners will meet again at the Belmont Stakes on June 11 seem pretty high for right now. Shackleford's trainer said that his chances of running the Belmont were “better than 50-50.” In another year where the quest for the Triple Crown has been lost already, and rematch between these two horses can more than make up for any lack of excitement.


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