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. Jack 63

    Anyone see Tanya Harding's ex-boyfriend around there?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Elle

    Ricky Gervais said it best: Horse racing is animals being "slaughtered for fun".

    June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Snappy53

    Carl, you are not hot, you are cruel..........and a troll at that.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Heman

    Wow, what a huge disappointment and let-down. While I understand and agree that it's the right move for the sake of the horse, i certainly have no vested interest in the Belmont anymore and won't be watching. 🙁

    June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. oldguy

    I'm also disappointed, but I'm glad to see a situation where the health of the horse comes first. The most disturbing aspect of this year's triple crown is that I'll Have Another's trainer has been suspended for doping.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DJ

    Wait for the follow on stories, the horse is so full of drugs they had to pull on a mild injury to avoid the drug tests

    June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • King Cephus

      Obviously you are not a horse-knowledgable individual. Watching that horse walk out during the news conference, I immediately noticed something was off in his walk on his front legs When it comes to a horse's legs an owner is quick to do what is best for the horse. Tendinitis is serious, as is any problem with the front legs. I applaud the owner for not only withdrawing I'll Have Another from the race, but also on the decision to retire him. He is putting the horse first, which is something many other owners neglect to do.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dale

    Once again the Triple Crown proves to be too much for three year olds. Dramatic horse racing love stories are made up in Hollywood. The truth is far too many die or severely crippled by the greed for purses overcomes any genuine concern or affection for the horse.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Affirmed

    I guess the FIX is in...once again! When will the moons align and stars converge correctly, before we get another Triple Crown winner! The last BEST shot was Spectacular Bid and he loss the Belmont because of that "mysterious" stone in his hoof...now this! Have the people who own horse racing ever considered that they might make MORE moeny and have more of a following, if they would "allow" a horse to complete this trifecta again?! Just saying....

    June 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Bummer ..

    June 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    Man I hope all the people who are saying they did the right and honorable thing are right. I don't have enough information to make an educated opinion. But a trainer with past drug suspensions takes the horse out early in the morning before anyone sees it and then it comes up with a mild injury that no one can either prove or disprove the day before a race known for having strict drug testing policies! I really hope the trainers are as caring about this horse as they are claiming to be, it would be a real disgrace if it comes out that they were not!!! On the other hand there are also millions in Stud fees to be made so I can't say I would blame the owners for one moment for being super cautious!!! I would love to hear the opinion someone who really knows the sport to shed some light, not someone who is just taking pot shots and talking out their rear end!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. isle90

    I am beginning to think that there will never be another Triple Cown Winner, itis just too darn hard to do today. This horse had an excellent chance of winning and now it's gone...forever.sounds to me like he trained the horse to hard and for too long. Tendinitis starts because you are overworked, as in a tennis elbow or similar injury. It just sounds like O'Neil trained him to much and ran the distance to much, too. Another year goes by and the 12 previous winner stand even higher after this year. They sould consider changing this series and making it longer between races, maybe 3 weeks between the Derby and Preakness and 4 to 5 week until the Belmont. If they don't do something I fear there never be another Triple Crown Champion!!!!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    So upset! Bought my tickets in advance thinking I would not get in and now they are worthless !

    June 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aaron Chaney

    Romney vs Frankenstein (Obama)

    Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney

    June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter

      Romney is the devil we all know too well, an ignorant, lying, conniving, Repukelican that even most of his own party hates, Want to try that Obama thing again?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. intothemoonbeam

    Damn..still no Triple Crown winner in my lifetime yet.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pamelajfk

    Tough call, but at least they made the right decision for I'll Have Another.

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