June 8th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

I'll Have Another scratched from Belmont, ending Triple Crown bid

[Updated at 12:34 p.m. ET] The racehorse I'll Have Another has been scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes, ending its bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, a spokesman for trainer Doug O'Neill confirmed Friday.

Earlier Friday, O'Neill told the "Dan Patrick Show" that I'll Have Another was out, citing swelling in one of the horse's legs.

“I’ll Have Another is officially out of the Belmont," O'Neill told the radio show. "He galloped great yesterday, and in the afternoon he had a little bit of swelling in his left front leg.

“This morning, he looked perfect. I took him out and I just did a little something with him. After training, that swelling came back.

"I had the vet come over. He scanned his left front leg. He’s got the start of tendinitis going on in that front leg, so he’s not 100%. And we ain’t taking any chances."

O'Neill told the show that he didn't know how the horse became injured.

“Pulling him out, it’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment. (I’m) just so disappointed for the horse, obviously, and … the whole team.

News of the withdrawal comes after O'Neill sent the horse out to the Belmont Park track for earlier-than-usual training Friday morning - jogging a half-mile and galloping a mile, starting at 5:30 a.m., according to a New York Racing Association story on the Belmont Stakes website.

Before the withdrawal, the horse's owner, Paul Reddam, told CNN on Friday morning that preparations were going well.

Had the horse won the Belmont, it would have been the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

I'll Have Another won the first two races this year, but wasn't the favorite for either. Before Friday's withdrawal, oddsmakers said the horse was favored to win the Belmont at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.

Since 1990, only seven horses have won the first two legs of the title.

I'll Have Another was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby, which happened in May. The horse competed in the shadow of Bodemeister, which was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.

High stakes, long race at Triple Crown's Belmont

The time leading up to the Belmont Stakes has not been without controversy. A workers strike at Belmont Park was averted this week.

The racetrack's workers, who manage the grounds and put the horses in the gate, have been involved in a contract dispute with the New York Racing Association over wages and health care since 2010.

Also, I'll Have Another's trainer is to begin a 45-day suspension, handed down by the California horse-racing authorities, on July 1.

O'Neill was found responsible for high carbon dioxide levels in 2010 California Del Mar track racer Argenta's blood. However, he was not found guilty of "intentional acts" or any sign that betting was skewed toward Argenta in the race.

Despite that, O'Neill still was able to participate in the Stakes this weekend.

soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Hope

    Probably a smart decision on the part of the trainer and the owner. I'll Have Another's health (legs) are more important than a win. I wish there were more responsible people like them in the horse racing industry!

    Hats off to a true champion,

    June 8, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Snappy53

      I wholeheartedly agree with your statement Hope. Best of luck to IHA in the future. He is still a champion in my eyes.
      He'll have fun at the breeding shed from now on. The trainer made the right call. We would not want another tragedy like poor Barbaro to happen during the Belmont.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • responsible?

      "responsible", "racing industry" and "O'Neil" don't belong in the same sentence.

      His balls are worth far more than anything else. If he catastrophically broke down on the track, the owners wouldn't be able to sell his love for $1,000,000/breeding. Racing isn't about ethics, it's about money.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gary Bonner

    Make NO mistake about this. This has EVERYTHING to do with doping related to the trainer of this animal. He has been accused of doping horses and I bet they were uncertain that this horse could withstand pre-race scruitiny. Count on it. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Snappy53

      That is a strong accusation you are making, and I don't believe it.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      You hit the nail on the head Gary.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Ravino

      If there was doping invloved trust me we would know. Today's blood-thirsty media would love that story, but this is just an unfortunate injury. COUNT ON IT.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • msmillwood

      Trainers like O'Neil have assistant trainers. If any question about doping then the horse would have run under one of his assistant trainers. The horse is far better off not running with leg problems.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve montgomery

      Are you saying the horse was doped in the previous races? If that were the case then how did the horse pass scrutiny following those races?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ronnie

    So I guess the horse is useless and they'll put her down now because she can't make the owners money....

    June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Snappy53

      No. HE will be retired from racing (probably) and go to the breeding shed. There is a lot of money to be made there for sure.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • bluemalak

      He'll make them plenty of money just in stud fees for winning the Derby and the Preakness.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Incrediboy


      June 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      If it is tendonitis, why would he have to retire? Treat the tendonitis, and find out the reason for it and go from there.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. !#$$#@^$#$#@@@

    wow, what a shame

    June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. writergal

    Unfortunately, the real loser in this is whatever network is showing the Belmont. With I'll Have Another out, it's just another horse race and it doesn't matter who wins. Viewership will likely be maybe a quarter of what it would have been if people thought they were going to see a possible Triple Crown winner.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Terry Vann

    Why did Obama let this happen!

    June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Incrediboy

      The real race isn't til November

      June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Trace

    Ratings for the race just dropped by 60%

    June 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      Ratings?1 What ratings?! Since there is no shot of a Triple Crown Winner this year, all media coverage has pulle out of the event.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bluemalak

    Hope, his trainer has a reputation for drugging horses, so I'm thinking responsible isn't the right word, but I am glad he took him out of the race if he's injured. Sad that he got injured though, I was really wishing for a triple crown winner. Hope he recovers, he's a beautiful horse.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sinfully Yours

    Exactly Gary, the sudden withdrawl from the race shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The owner realized that without their trainer to dope the horse, they have no shot at winning and the controversy and backlash that would ensue.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wake Up People

      This horse would have been tested and retested prior to and after winning the Derby and the Preakness. Guess what? No drugs have been found, so I seriously doubt that the owners were worried he couldn't win the Belmont because "The owner realized that without their trainer to dope the horse, they have no shot at winning and the controversy and backlash that would ensue."

      June 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DanC


    June 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeepman66

    Gary Bonner, you are right on the money on this one. I think the trainers are more worried about post-race dope testing results and the certain lawsuits that would follow.. DON"T CHEAT

    June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ajl

      This horse has already been tested for drugs and passed. Leg injuries happen all the time. It amazes me how Americans are so willing to jump on conspiracy theories, as if the ordinary person has access to some special information that everyone else has magically overlooked and they are somehow able to make the connections that no one else does.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry

    Thats a shame I was really hoping to hear about the first triple crown winner in over 30 years tomorrow

    June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Natalie

    I am so impressed that this trainer did not race a sore/slightly injured horse.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David M

    This is "Breaking News"?? It's big in horse racing circles, but that's about it.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Buzzman

    Good. Horseracing should just be abolished all together. Theres nothing good to it at all. Its all about money hungry people betting on animals. How is this different then any other animal related betting? Oh yeah its still legal, that all. Get rid of this. The animals are who suffers out of this and they get pushed too hard and then what they break a leg and then they have to put them down. Thats wonderful!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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