I’ll Have Another denied Triple Crown bid
I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister have revived memories of the Triple Crown clashes of Affirmed and Alydar when the former ran out the winner in all three legs after some titanic battles between the two. This weekend’s Belmont Stakes stood between I’ll Have Another and his place in history as the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed and Steve Cauthen thrilled the crowds back in 1978. Unfortunately the horse met with a late injury and will now miss the race.
I’ll Have Another, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, caused a big shock when winning the Kentucky Derby by one and a half lengths in May. Although it was a second Grade One for the horse, many observers felt that Mike Smith had ridden a poor race on Bodemeister and that he would take his revenge in the Preakness. Bob Baffert’s colt was sent off favourite but had no answer to the stunning late burst from I’ll Have Another and again had to settle for the runner-up spot, this time failing by a neck.
The punters agreed and Bob Baffert’s colt was sent off favourite to reverse the placings in the Preakness only for O’Neill’s charge to confirm his authority with a stunning late run to score by a neck. The late injury is a cruel blow to connections who must have been dreaming of their place in racing history.
Bodemeister is also absent from the Belmont and the main contenders now look to be Union Rags and Dullahan. There is a change of jockey for both horses with Union Rags now to be ridden by John Velazquez and Dullahan by Javier Castellano. Velazquez steps in for Julien Leparoux on last season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up who was a disappointing seventh at Churchill Downs. Kent Desormeaux has lost the ride on the Dale Romans trained Dullahan following a positive test for alcohol last weekend.
Other possible contenders include Arkansas Derby fifth Atigun, trained by Kenny McPeek, the trainer responsible for longshot Sarava who thwarted War Emblem’s Belmont bid in 2002. The lightly raced Unstoppable U who is unbeaten in two starts may be joined in the line up by Peter Pan Stakes third Street Life. Bob Baffert will be represented by the promising maiden Paynter who finished second in the Derby trial at Churchill Downs in April.
Belmont Stakes 2012 Odds
Author Profile: Harvey Mayson+