06/08/2012 1:51PM

The Belmont Without I'll Have Another


Stunned and bummed.

That is probably the best way to describe the mood here at Belmont Park Friday after the news that a tendon issue, which first surfaced Thursday afternoon and really came to a head after he galloped Friday morning, will prevent I’ll Have Another from attempting his sweep of the Triple Crown in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. The issue has, in fact, forced his retirement.

As an aside, this is not the first time a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner has not started in the Belmont. Burgoo King, in 1932, and Bold Venture, in 1936, were the first two to achieve that dubious distinction.

So what is left of this Belmont Stakes without I’ll Have Another? It leaves us with a field of 11. It leaves us with only one horse who to date has won a graded stakes on dirt, Union Rags. It leaves us with only two previous graded stakes winners in total, with Dullahan, now the likely favorite off his rallying third in the Kentucky Derby, being the other. It leaves us with only one horse who has ever run fast enough to have earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure. Paynter, who earned triple-digit Beyers in his last two starts, is the one who achieved that. It might leave us with a Belmont grandstand half as full as it could have been with I’ll Have Another in the race. And, whether you picked I’ll Have Another or planned to bet against him, it also leaves us with an empty feeling, because we’ll never know what might have been.

Strangely, for a horse who was such a critical figure and who cast such an imposing shadow over the race, I’ll Have Another’s withdrawal won’t have much of an impact, if any, on the strategy of the Belmont. It wasn’t as if he was the lone speed, or the only closer in a race full of front runners. Paynter, My Adonis, and Unstoppable U will go out and in some fashion dispute a pace that still shouldn’t be all that fast. And Union Rags and Dullahan will still be attempting to rally into that pace.

The only thing is, we won’t have I’ll Have Another there as the standard by which all the other Belmont starters can be measured, so that we know what any of them do tomorrow is of real value. Or not.

Tom Smothers More than 1 year ago
What a shame
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Anyone else believe that if and when we do see a Triple Crown winner, the horse will either not make another start that year or never make another start? When I've allowed myself to play out the scenario in my head, I have trouble seeing the incentives of continuing to race a Triple Crown winner. Not only could the series just flat knock the horse out, but even if it doesn't the connections are likely to be cautious about running any time soon. So, I would expect the horse would get a few months off, maybe the whole year. Then there are the financial considerations. Even if the horse could run the next week, isn't a Triple Crown winner more valuable in the breeding shed than on the track, unless it's a gelding or filly? Then, if the horse likely can't or won't be running for months, why would the connections risk some future hope on the track for guaranteed money to go to stud? I hope I'm wrong, but that's why I have never believed that one horse, a Triple Crown winner or not, can "save" the sport. We wish so hard for a Triple Crown winner, and then it never runs again? Sounds like thoroughbred racing to me.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Certainly a cruel twist. I thank I'll Have Another's connections for detecting the injury and preventing something truly tragic and damaging(to horse and the sport). It wouldn't have been hard for them to have seen what they wanted to see, to wish so hard that the injury isn't there that they concvince themselves it is indeed not there. I'm not saying others would have done this, but it was a possibility. However, I have to believe retirement is premature. With all respect to I'll Have Another, he has only run 7 times with 4 stakes wins. They kind of made it seem like the horse had nothing left to prove; but isn't there always more to prove, especially with just 4 stakes wins? And it's not like his breeding is other-worldly. It sounds like the horse could have targeted a race like the Big Cap, with either one or two preps before. I get the ecocomics of it, but as a fan of racing and not breeding, it's always difficult accepting the current reality of the sport, that for top tier horses the latter is more lucrative than the former.
charming idiot More than 1 year ago
who cares who wins now? the heat/celtics game is now the top sports story of the day.
Holly McLinden More than 1 year ago
I don't think it is fair to say that what any of them do tomorrow is for real or not. Even with IHA out of the race whoever wins it will be in the record books because it is the Belmont and their stud value should go way up. I would breed my mare to a Belmont winner before any others. Call me crazy. I am still rooting for the horses I like and I will still be watching and whoever wins will be, in my eyes, a great horse. It takes a lot to win the Belmont and I am looking forward to it.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
this is what is all about now,drugs, cheating ,if you take a lot of futures bets you will not win,if the trainer doesnt scratch you the jockeys will team up and ride you into the rail the whole way.no wonder the tainers and jockeys are theonly ones making money in this game,everybody else is a sucker.
YYZGUY1 More than 1 year ago
Retired?? Mr. Reddam, turn the horse over Rick Dutrow or Jamie Ness. Two real horseman who can get the most out any horse. How difficult was it to talk Dougie out of running him in a $2000 Claimer next Tuesday at Finger Lakes?
John Brinthaupt More than 1 year ago
Dulahan. it is sad, but not for i ll have another, what does he care.Would have been nice to at least see him make the attempt. he was a definite possibility.
James More than 1 year ago
I have two things to say tonight. First, I do feel sorry for all the pro-I'll Have Another- horse player. It was unfortunate, happening like it did; but thats life.-For the anti-I'll Have Another- players, I'm sorry you didn't get to see your point proven. The horse put down two monstrous races, so take it for what it was and go on. Second, can anyone out there tell me what the correct Beyer is for Paynter's(#9) Derby Trial is. On the "Profile" site it lists his Beyer as 93. On the "Stakes Replay" site it lists his Beyer as 103. In Saturdays P.P."s that I purchased yesterday, it list's his Beyer as 100. Mr. Watchmaker, I would appreciate your help too.
Craig More than 1 year ago
IHA being out makes this a terrible betting race full of under lays.If you were taking a stand against IHA with UR or Dull getting 5 to 1 or so.Now they are gonna be 9 to 5.Horses that were gonna be 40 or 50 to 1 will now be 20 or so.Time to put bankroll towards p4 and p6.