NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The final jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown is in New York City’s backyard this weekend.

CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported the Belmont Stakes will feature one 3-year-old horse that’s made a name for himself on personality alone.

The trainers for Lani isolate him from other horses because he doesn’t get along with them.

“He’s happy when he’s racing and with the people he’s OK,” trainer Mikio Matsunaga said. “But when he sees the other horses, he’s very aggressive and has a strong mind.”

Lani has earned the label of “The Bad Boy of Belmont” due to his excitable and temperamental sides.

“I haven’t seen a horse like this very often,” Matsunaga said. “He’s got a unique character. As long as he’s happy with the people around, I’m happy with that.”

Lani is the Hawaiian word for “heaven.” The horse was bred in Kentucky, but trained in Japan. Lavi’s devilish side shows in his unruly disposition, but it could also be his saving grace.

Matsunaga chose to work out Lani’s energy by running him a lot. While other horses do one lap around Belmont, Lani runs four every day.

“Belmont Park is similar to Japan,” Matsunaga explained. “The track is big and wide and sandy – all aspects similar to what he got used to. This is the most hospitable race for him in the Triple Crown.”

It’s that extra conditioning that is expected to pay off in the Triple Crown’s longest race.

Lani will be starting in the tenth gate. The horse has the second-worst odds of winning the Belmont Stakes.


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