The 2011 Triple Crown campaign concluded in New York on Saturday with the 143rd renewal of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) before a crowd of 55,779 under dark overcast skies and intermittent rainshowers. A field of 12 three-year-olds contested the 1 1/2 mile "Test of the Champion", with Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Animal Kingdom sent off as the 5-2 favorite over Derby runner-up Nehro, , and 6-1 third choice Master of Hounds, 5th in the Derby and returning from Ireland. Preakness winner Shackleford was all but dismissed as the 13-2 fourth choice on the board.
Animal Kingdom bumped with Mucho Macho Man, almost unseating jockey John Velazquez who lost his left iron, but 100 yards into the race he was able to regain the iron but the poor start left him dead last, spotting the field 14 1/2 lengths. Shackleford broke sharply and was angled to the rail by jockey Jesus Castanon to set the pace and he got easy early fractions of 23.92, 49.08, 1:14.51, and 1:39.95 over the sloppy track while 2 lengths in front of Ruler on Ice who stalked him in second, with Stay Thirsty sitting behind them third. On the turn, Shackleford stubbornly held the lead getting 1 1/4 miles in 2:05.09 but he was shortening his stride, allowing Ruler on Ice to inherit the lead at the 3/16 marker. Ruler on Ice held off Stay Thirsty the length of the stretch to win by 3/4 length in a time of 2:30.88. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Brilliant Speed third, while favorite Animal Kingdom put in a mild rally late to get 6th beaten 9 1/4 lengths.
Belmont Undercard Stakes - the Manhattan Handicap (G1), Just a Game Stakes (G1), Acorn Stakes (G1), True North Handicap (G2), and Woody Stephens Stakes (G2)