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. Juan Moore Beer

    If i were a betting man, and I'm not, I would bet there is more to this story.
    The trainer and owner are both notorious for one reason or another.
    I'll bet the trainer got caught doping (yet again), and this excuse is a scam dreamed up with the help of the ruling bodies to get the horse out of the race without having to try to sort out the mess that a doping charge would create for a horse that has just won to of the biggest events in the industry. Lot of dollars taken in and paid out that would that would put pressure on different resolutions to the problem, along with the potention negative publicity.
    Ignoring a problem and hoping it goes away rarely works.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Clay Findley

    It is refreshing to see someone value the health and safety of an animal more than the potential $$ to be made. Good for them!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 48lowes

    theres only 1 thing that can save I'll Have Another chances of winning the TC and thats IF the Workers go on Strike and the horse gets better when the strike ends (just a Theroy)

    June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cherries

    At least they're scracting him instead of injecting him with pain meds and running him anyway. A very humane and ethical decision.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fiona

    Trained him too hard. Put the blame where it belongs.

    Racing is a cruel and wasteful sport. Horses are broken, drugged, thrown away. For every I'll Have Another, there are hundreds of third-rate-track runners that lead lives of misery and end up being deliberately injured for insurance, killed when they go lame, or sold off in a meat auction and trucked to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. Don't support it.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nico

      You're lame

      June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubbish

      Nico-lame or not, Fiona is correct. The lucky ones (the OTT TB's) are rescued and adopted by non-race people who don't care that the horse isn't sound and can't be ridden hard or not at all, or used only as a broodmare, a pasture puff or companion horse.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    And NBC's ratings for tomorrow just plunged.....

    June 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sg1

    Can you say scam? Labor despute and lawyaers last week – now he has a hurt leg? Hmm...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bubbish

    While not a huge fan of racing, but a TB owner who loves the beauty, intelligence and grace of the breed, I commend the trainer for removing IHA from the race. O'Neill showed great concern and compassion for IHA's well-being, and it is simply the right and humane thing to do. Disappointing? Yes, very much so for die-hard race fans the world over, but I don't think any of us would want to see the Barbaro tragedy all over again. IHA will command some awesome stud fees in the future. He made his mark, and now he deserves a happy and healthy retirement. I wish him a long life.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snappy53

      Well said, Bubbish, I agree

      June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubbish

      Thank You, Snappy53.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Patrish

    The race thee poor colts so young, no wonder they have injuries and broken bones. Maybe this horse will have a decent life.... we can hope.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Craiger

    So many of you are so wrong on this. Doug has never been charged with any doping. The substance in question is bicarb soda which can appear naturally from a number of sources. Doug is a honarable man who did a great job with a great Horse.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andrey

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Horses who lose
    Are made into GLUE!

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

    I bet none of you ever even have handled a race horse. How would you know anything about the sport and conditions? Athletes get injured all the time – or they sit out a game.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carolyn

    Thank you to the trainers and owners for making the correct decision in favor of the safety and health of the horse!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hvfpaints

    Well they did the right thing in not racing him and risking a catastrophic breakdown, but I really thought this horse was the one we've been waiting for! Sadness. Hope he's better in time for the Breeders Cup Classic though soft tissue injuries can be tough to come back from.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. asdf

    Everything about this sport these days and especially this team, its sleazy owners and trainers reeks of shady. I would say Karma except that poor horse's misery will continue.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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