Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another was scratched from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, and owner J. Paul Reddam opened a press conference this morning with: “This is officially to tell you that I’ll Have Another is retired.” The horse has been withdrawn due to a swollen left front tendon.
Report from AP:
I’ll Have Another, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with stirring stretch drives, was the 4-5 favorite to win the Belmont and become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978.
Instead, he becomes the 12th horse since Affirmed to win the first two legs but not the Belmont.
It was the first time since Bold Venture in 1936 that the Derby and Preakness winner didn’t run in the Belmont. Burgoo King skipped the race in 1932.
O’Neill said the swollen left front tendon was the beginning of tendonitis, which could have taken six months to treat.
“We’re very, very bummed out, but we’ll be back next year,” said O’Neill’s brother, Dennis. “He looked fine, he actually looked fine again this morning, we were just precautionary taking a look at it. Just a bummer, real, real bummer.
“The horse looks fine. Looking at it, you would never think anything is wrong. He looks great. He’s sound. He went great this morning. He looks super and you just can’t take a chance. He’s too valuable of a horse and we love him to death like all of them.
“You wouldn’t run a horse if you think something might happen,” he said.
The horse’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, rode at Golden Gate Fields in Albany in 2009-10. As the Mercury News reports today:
(I)f he had been riding last fall as planned at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, this moment never would have happened. When Gutierrez’s trainer couldn’t secure barn space at the Bay Area racetrack, they instead headed south to Santa Anita Park — launching an unlikely sequence of events that could culminate in the most wildly improbable thoroughbred-racing story in years.
ESPN’s Jeannine Edward’s has a video report on how the news of I’ll Have Another’s withdrawal from the race developed…