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. Howard

    I'm sure this has nothing to do with giving the horse drugs! This sport is in dire need of repair and the horses suffer as a result of these trainers selfishness.

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

      They stopped that a few years ago

      June 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • A horse fan

      Actually, Howard, what is more typical is not an injury caused by giving drugs, but an injury covered up by using drugs and running the horse anyway. This is a far better decision for the horse than a lot of trainers would have made. They could have ruin him anyway and ruined his leg and they chose not to.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. yeahalright

    Boy the horse must be so devastated to miss his big race.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DDM

    The Belmont attendance will now drop by about 50 percent. Too bad. What seems to be the leg problem – no details?

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

      Tendonitis – it is in the article.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      I have no interest in horse racing whatsoever but I was going to tune in for the Belmont just for the historic bit. I am one of probably mnay that now will be doing other things instead.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AmeliaaE

    awwww poor horsey hope he gets better soon.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. founders1791

    I smell a rat! The blue bloods of this industry has had it in for the owners and trainers of this horse, and I would not doubt for second that 'THE FIX WAS IN' to keep the 34year streak alive until ..one of 'them'.. is the deserving next triple crown holder.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dalton

      If there is a rat, it's probably the trainer. I find it odd that as soon as the horse is moved to the detention barn, where the trainer can't perform his chemical magic (which he's been suspended for numerous times), suddenly the horse has a soft tissue injury. Eyebrow raising at least.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mickey

    Buzzman – oh please – while there are certainly abuses in racing, the fact of the matter is that Thoroughbreds love to run and will run in an open field with no one pushing them. The horse has tendonitis – he may race again.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoTags

      You are absolutely right. People who think horse racing is bad should just see a thoroughbred running "wide open" in a field, just to be running.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. woogiesmom

    Awe man. I so was looking forward to watching after seeing the news this morning.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A1

    These animals are being abused

    June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • midranger

      If they were being abused they would have run him anyway.

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

    Wow, unfortunate timing. I applaud them pulling the horse if he is truly injured and thinking of his health more than the glory of winning the Triple Crown. I know that I wont probably watch the race now. I only watch the triple crown races, not a big fan of how most owners/trainers treat these horses as just disposable. Its frightening how many of them end up on a slaughter truck each year.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Matthew Kilburn

    Just rotten timing – too bad. Better luck next year! Probably won't be the same kind of underdog story...who knows how long it will be before we see another triple crown at this rate.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shyone

    Kudos to the owners and trainers of I'll Have Another for putting the welfare of the horse first.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommie

      There's more money in stud fees. How can i get in on that?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Papa Lazarou

    On the plus side, Sarah Jessica Parker has been added to the field.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karaya

    Some pony's cramped leg is a Breaking News? Really?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leftywriteagain

    Had a great chance to win. The "what if " factor will add to his stud fees. Really wanted Ivan Puhich(trainer) to win the triple.

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

    Have they considered running Beth Stern instead?

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