Update: I’ll have Another Pulls out of Belmont, Retires for Good

Update: I’ll have another will not race at Belmont.  His trainer Doug O’neil, has scratched his Triple Crown hopes because of an injury to the horse’s tendon.  The horse has been retired from racing, and is likely to go off to stud next year (as this year’s season has passed).  As every good trainer would, he made the very hard choice to squash the dreams of winning the Triple Crown, in order to keep his horse sound for the long haul.  Its unfortunate but we will have to wait another year for a triple crown winner.

Below is the original article on the Belmont, as I still feel it is relevant in picking the field in this still important race.

By far and away, this year’s top contender for the Belmont is I’ll Have Another, who is looking to win the third jewel of the and complete the Triple Crown. Incredibly, it’s been 34 years since such a feat was achieved, and in this time we have watched many very talented horses run their hearts out striving for this glory. In 1978, Affirmed won the Triple Crown; prior to him Seattle Slew won in 1977, and in 1973 the infamous Big Red, also known as Secretariat, stole the show and our hearts. I’ll Have Another has the opportunity to be fourth horse in the last 64 years to make history. Indeed, only one race, The Belmont, stands between him and the record books!

The Belmont Stakes take place this Saturday, June 9th. At 6:40 pm, 11 horses are set to tackle the mile and a half dirt course to upset I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown bid. The trainer of this Triple Crown hopeful, Doug O’Neil, believes his horse is up for the test and will be looking to put away all challengers. The big scare for the Derby and Preakness winner came on May 31st while training on the main track. A horse that had dropped its rider during training came thundering right at the champion, narrowly missing the horse and rubbing the boot of the exercise rider. Luckily, I’ll Have Another escaped without injury, but left many hearts pounding in what was a very scary moment.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the Crown is Dullahan, a very talented colt who ran third in the Derby. He has shrugged the image of being a Polytrack horse with his third place finish in the Derby and is now the fresh horse in the field. Dullahan has had five weeks off and his trainer Dale Romans believes he is training as good as ever and will be a very serious competitor to win the Belmont.

The following are I’ll Have Another’s potential upset challengers:

  • Union Rags, the early Kentucky Derby favorite
  • Paynter, Baffert’s entry who was only beaten by four lengths in the San Anita Derby vs. I’ll Have Another
  • My Adonis, the only ‘Also Eligible’ in the history of the Derby
  • Atigun
  • Guyana Star Dwwej
  • Optimizer
  • Ravello’s Boy
  •  Rousing Sermon, a deep closer and could possibly love the distance
  • Street Life
  • Unstoppable U

These 12 horses are planning to run and hoping to win, but the real dream is coming from I’ll Have Another and his connections. Young, Mario Gutierrez, (the jockey who was given the opportunity of a lifetime just to ride in a Grade 1 Stakes event a few months ago) must be floored by all this attention. Gutierrez is a native of Mexico, who has been a steady top-performer at a small race track in Vancouver, Canada. He now has the chance to win his fifth race in a row aboard this fantastic colt, and become a Triple Crown-winning Jockey — something he could not have even imagined before owner Paul Reddam of Reddam Racing LLC gave him the nod on I’ll Have Another.
Come Saturday, millions and millions of people will be watching and cheering for this great achievement to take place. Will history be made or will hearts be broken?