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. Matt

    The TV ratings for the Belmont Stakes just fell off a cliff....

    June 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry Pelletier

    It's Obama's fault......He can't blame Bush on this one!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Secretariat

    Such a shame. Interesting how O'Neill's horses injure at double the rate of other race horses. Not that he's to blame, but it's an interesting trend with yet another example. While it's a sad day for horse racing, the field is now open and the the next triple crown winner will be all the more special. Just goes to show how hard it really is to win that triple crown. I'll Have Another still undefeated in 2012. Still a champion.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ironwolf56

    I'm glad they're thinking about the horse's safety. It's funny they make such a huuuuge deal every couple years about a "possible Triple Crown winner!" and it never ever pans out. I think there might well never be another Triple Crown winner, and they should shelve the recycled hype stories.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. livingston

    It's disappointing to see him scratched but it was the responsible thing to do. I would hope that no one would want to see him breakdown during the race. Intelligent decision by a caring owner.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Like a BOSS


    June 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hlnkid

    Just why I don't get my hopes up for a TC winner anymore. Something always happens to shatter those hopes. Dissappointed for the horse and mostly for his jockey Mario G. Such a genuine and great kid who was on the ride of his life. Thankfully the found the injury now before it became anything worse. Sorry to see another TC hope dashed.

    Guess I'm back on Union Rags for the Belmont.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian Myers

    I applaud the team and owner for doing the right thing and pulling out.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • nancheska

      Smart move to scratch I'll have Another. Rags to Riches' owner had to scratch her from a bunch of races before that filly fatally injured herself. All I can think of is 8 Belles, Ruffian, and Barbaro. The last thing a horse needs is an injury that'd cause him or her to have to be put down or an injury that can hurt the jockies or the other horses. Problem with young horses is that a lot of their bones aren't fused completely. That's why I was glad to see an older horse (6 years old or more, a mare, no less....make Ruffian proud!), Zenyatta, do so well in recent years.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lardeau

    Responsible horse people know that any injury on the track during a race can result in the horse falling. This is extremely dangerous to jockeys that may also fall in the heat of the congestion .. and the other horses too. I would say probably a wise move here to scratch that horse. Too bad.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Big mark

    Last triple crown winner was the year of my birth. had hoped to actually watch it happen.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keir Weimer

    Keir Weimer thinks that while it is very untoward that I'll Have Another will not be competing in the Belmont Stakes today for a chance at the Triple Crown and a place in Thoroughbred history, it is probably for the better, and a prudent decision by the stead's owner and team.

    Keir Weimer believes this to be the tempered course, and that this horse has already achieved great things, so why push it and risk career-ending injury? Simply not worth it. Let the race go on, and may the best horse win!

    -Keir Weimer

    June 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zach

      Keir Weimer likes to hear Keir Weimer talk about Keir Weimer. Keir Weimer.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cindy Lou Hoo

    In my experience and opinion doping in all athletes enables that athlete to compete in levels that, for the most part, their bodies cannot withstand...so the body breaks down and injuries occur. Two sayings come to mind: if we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it and a lepoard cannot change it's spots. Once a trainer and/or athlete does not get caught cheating they will try it until they get caught. I understand this is a generalization but I feel it fits in this case. A shame, for this sport and all sports, it really is all about the money. In all this I wish I'll Have Another' a great retirement!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. les

    That's such a shame, they've probably been watching this since the last race...any extra heat in the legs. Hopefully it's not something that is passed along to his offspring. The Thourghbred...life's most beautiful creature....

    June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phyllis chatterton

    At last an owner who cares about his animal. Thanks for your thinking of your horse and not your pockets. This 7th generation horseman loves you. ponylady

    June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gloria

    I am very disappointed for I'll Have Another and everyone involved on his team; however, I'm very glad that the trainer and owner realize it isn't worth risking further injury and pain to run him in this race.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
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