Here we are again, facing a second consecutive Belmont Stakes without a Triple Crown on the line. And this year, the field won't include either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner, the first time both have skipped the race voluntarily since 2010.
It's difficult to spin that into an ideal scenario for the third leg of the Triple Crown series. Attendance, betting handle and television viewership will likely suffer.
But the Belmont is still an important and lucrative event within the thoroughbred racing world, and it will offer a shot at minor stardom for many of the horses who fell short in the Derby and Preakness.
Here are five stories to watch heading into...