05/31/2012 8:34AM

2012 Belmont Stakes: Alpha out, one fewer opponent for I'll Have Another

Tom Keyser
Alpha hasn't been to the track since Sunday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Alpha, one of just four graded stakes winners among the dozen 3-year-olds being pointed to the June 9 Belmont Stakes, will miss the race after developing a temperature earlier in the week, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Thursday morning.

Alpha, who won the Grade 3 Withers and listed Count Fleet earlier in the year, had a temperature of 103 degrees Tuesday night, McLaughlin said. Although the temperature returned to a normal level - 100.40 - after Alpha received antibiotics, McLaughlin said the horse missed training Wednesday and Thursday. In fact, Alpha hasn’t been to the track since he breezed Sunday morning.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

“It’s just not the thing to do,” said McLaughlin, who discussed the situation with Godolphin Racing manager Simon Crisford. “It’s a demanding race, the mile and a half. We need to be 110 percent and we’re not.”

McLaughlin said future plans for Alpha were not yet determined.

In addition to winning the Withers and Count Fleet, Alpha finished second in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, beaten a neck by Gemologist, and as a 2-year-old was second to Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne.

Alpha’s defection leaves two-time Eclipse Award winner Ramon Dominguez without a mount for the Belmont and reduces the number of likely starters to 11.

The three Belmont Stakes candidates that have won a graded stakes races are I’ll Have Another, Dullahan and Union Rags.
The remainder of the field comprises Atigun, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Optimizer, Paynter, Street Life, Unstoppable U and Ravelo’s Boy.


Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
OKAY FOLKS... how bout we all take a deep breath and cut the b.s. one really good horse has been withdrawn here. maybe his connections just decided to protect him for future races and not focus on this great race which has now become a circus...... media hype, finger pointing, this keeps up we'll end up with a four horse field of ravelo's boy, guyana fruit punch, five sixteen, and and IHA... HOW'S THAT RATE FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE CROWN.... JESUS H.........
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
i'll go first..... sorry mr. o'neil.... MAYBE ALL I HAVE READ AND EXPERIENCED HAS CLOUDED MY JUDGEMENT...... GOOD LUCK..... and man that really goes against my instincts
Derek Getty More than 1 year ago
Alpha had by FAR the best pedigree for the Belmont. Really to bad he is out because he was definitely going to be 1-2-3. Regal pedigree.
Maynard Runkle More than 1 year ago
O'Neill is NOT a cheat. "Milkshakes" are a therepeutic to help a horse recover from exertion. They do not enhance a horse's speed or ability. They consist of baking soda, sugar and electrolytes. The horse in California that was in question finished EIGHTH and they agreed there was no indication it had been milkeshaked. It had a high level of CO2 for an unknown reason. It was not a favorite in the race which would have looked like it was being deprived of a probable win. It is easy to make unsubstantiated accusations. The horse racing industry faces a lot of competition from totally mindless betting like the one armed bandit and illegal sports betting. Those involved in these gaming operations stand to gain by tarring horse racing with unproven allegations. Then you have the PETA group which does not want horses to compete at any level despite the fact that they are naturally competetive and enjoy running fast. As to Alpha being withdrawn to open the way for IHA, this is another accusation that is difficult to disprove. If Union Rags, Optimizer, Dullahan, Paynter and Street Life are pulled, then there would be cause to think the race is being handed to IHA. Neither Zenyatta or Rachel were frauds. They were outstanding and both beat Grade I or Group I quality horses. Zenyatta finished within a head of Blame without ever having had a race over the track before while Blame had. Who else was in that race? Quality Road, Lookin at Lucky and many others. The year before she beat a stellar field but did have the advantage over some of a track she loved.
Chris Szabo More than 1 year ago
Alpha's defection opens the door even further for other horses to enter the Belmont, and have a serious shot at good purse money, if not the whole enchilada. It's not unreasonable to think IHA will regress off his top performance in his last race, the Preakness. It's almost to be expected. If this does occur, any horse who can handle the distance, & Beyer around 100 has a good chance of a top 3 finish or even the win.
Leah Demeter More than 1 year ago
:( He was #4 on my Early Predictions... Hope he'll be okay. Thanks for looking out for him.
Paul F More than 1 year ago
a fever 9 days out and hes quitting?...sad.........and scared...
Nicholas Carraway More than 1 year ago
Alpha was a puzzle. He had just two bad races--both at Churchill Downs. Did he just not like the track or was he facing the toughest fields in those two races?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He was hurt. Came out with bandages in the derby.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
4-5. That's what I'll Have Another will go off at, and that's how lengths he'll win by!!!
chuck More than 1 year ago
At least no one in this post is saying Rags is a lock. His trainer and media have hyped him for over six months. He just has not delivered. Like Easy Goer, he is not athletic. The wide turns will benefit him to show his best. Dullahan, has yet to beat a really good group of horses. He will need a lively pace to make an impression. He got that in the Derby. Chances are he will not get that in the Belmont. To the idiot who says this is a poor crop of three year olds. Please tell me other then Sham, who did Secretariat beat in the Triple Crown races???? The best three year old crop by far was 1957. BOLD RULER, GALLANT MAN, IRON LIEGE, ROUND TABLE,KING HAIRAN, FEDERAL HILL and probably the best of that class, GENERAL DUKE. IHA, has beaten whatever has been the opposition. Don't shoot your mouth off and reveal how little you really know and understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear Chuck, Go easy on the guy you called idiot. Who did secretariat beat. Try Forego in the Derby.......
Brian Taylor More than 1 year ago
Secretariat also beat Forego in the Derby. The foal crop of 1970 also included Linda's Chief,My Gallant,Our Native, Mr.Prospector, Stop The Music, Step Nicely (not to mention the fillies La Prevoyante and Desert Vixen). Though I would agree that '57 was the best and deepest crop of 3yos. This years' crop seems to have some depth,though it certainley doesn't compare with the greats.But then again who did Seattle Slew beat in the Classics? (And yes;I know he beat Affirmed twice as a 4 YO)
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I'm very sorry to hear Alpha has a fever and is being withdrawn from the Belmont. Get well soon, Alpha!! Good luck in the future!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty sure he's okay.... maybe just being withdrawn for future races over this circus.. he's classy and talented so it may be the best thing for him. no triple crown at stake and he's not in the tug-of-war so to speak so why not protect him from possible dangers????