01/08/2013 7:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: I'll Have Another

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photo by: Justin N. Lane

He won the Robert Lewis Stakes, but few believed. Even after he won the Santa Anita Derby, doubts remained, so much so that he was only the ninth choice among 20 in the Kentucky Derby. And even after winning that race, he will wasn’t favored in the Preakness.

Throughout his racing career, I’ll Have Another was always the underdog. Not tonight. Though he was never favored in his seven-race career, I’ll Have Another is the overwhelming favorite this evening to receive the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male.

I’ll Have Another won all four of his starts in 2012, including the first two legs of the Triple Crown. But his meteoric rise came to a crushing halt on the eve of the Belmont Stakes, when he was pulled out of the race with a tendon injury that necessitated his retirement.

I’ll Have Another, by Flower Alley out of the Arch mare Arch’s Gal Edith, was bred by Harvey Clarke. He was purchased as a yearling for $11,000 by Victor Davila, who pinhooked I’ll Have Another the following April at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2-year-olds in training auction. Dennis O’Neill, who advises owner Paul Reddam and is the brother of trainer Doug O’Neill, purchased I’ll Have Another at that sale on behalf of Reddam.

Sore shins limited I’ll Have Another’s 2-year-old campaign to three starts, and when he made his first start as a 3-year-old on Feb. 4, it was off a five-month layoff. Reddam chose to go in the Lewis, rather than a shorter allowance race. The combination of the layoff and the fact I’ll Have Another was racing two turns for the first time caused his price to skyrocket to 43-1 from a sensible morning line of 12-1.

“He’s always been an incredibly talented horse,” Doug O’Neill said. “We thought we’d take a chance. We thought he’d hit the board.”

He did better than that. I’ll Have Another was a comfortable 2 3/4-length winner of the Lewis when ridden for the first time by Mario Gutierrez, who would pilot I’ll Have Another the rest of his career.

Because he turned in such a big effort, the decision was made to not run again until the Santa Anita Derby on April 7. I’ll Have Another was tested that day, but outlasted Creative Cause to win by a nose.

I’ll Have Another was a fat 15-1 in the Kentucky Derby, but he received a perfect trip from Gutierrez despite breaking from post 19 and corralled pacesetting Bodemeister in the final yards to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

Bodemeister, the Derby favorite, was favored again in the Preakness. Bodemeister got away with an easier pace, yet I’ll Have Another still ran him down in the finest performance of his career.

I’ll Have Another was now in position to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. But he never got a chance to see if he could to it.

“I’m afraid history is going to have to wait for another day,” Reddam said at a news conference the day before the Belmont.

A few weeks later, I’ll Have Another was sold by Reddam to Japan’s Big Red Farm, where I’ll Have Another will begin stud duty this spring.

Juan Garcia More than 1 year ago
I wonder if the potential posetives of his trainer could have impact his racing ability to perform in those races,but no one has mentioned that theory. To many horse were impeded in the prior triple crown races,like Union Rags!!
Benjamin Ricciardi More than 1 year ago
Great another Eclipse award winner that was too unsound to race past the money grab that has become the triple crown. What a freaking joke. Why do we even race past June... Just give the eclipse award out next year after the Derby. Hell, inferior horses with horrendous confirmation that are incredibly unsound are exactly the ones we should reward. This way we can breed more unsound mares to them and no one outside the continental 48 will ever buy an american racehorse again... CONGRATS TO THE IDIOTS THAT KEEP VOTING THEM IN. At least he's got a slightly better resume then the overrated hack who won this award last year.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I'll Have Another, I am SO proud of you!! Congratulations on your well-deserved 2012 Eclipse Award for 3 Year Old Male. You accomplished all the marks of a true champion. You won all of your races at over a mile in distance - you are a horse that wins at Classic distances, which has always been the Gold Standard in racing before now. You accomplished that feat on dirt tracks, although you proved you could also win on synthetic tracks as well. That means you are versatile. You could run like the wind: you are fast as well as tactical - you had four different gears and you used each of them in all of your beyond spectacular wins. Your heart and determination was thrilling to watch, and your will-to-win was epic and inspirational to witness. You brought your "A" game to each and every race you ran, and impressed us all with that "A" game of yours! You made millions of people scream, "Wow!" after each of your victories. You brought millions of new fans to racing, many of them never having been interested in racing before you came along. And I have NO DOUBT that you would have won the Belmont Stakes and you would have been our 12th Triple Crown champion if not for your last second injury before the Belmont. In my book, and in the estimation of many other people besides me, you are the 2012 Horse of the Year. You brought excitement back to racing. Winning 3 Year Old Male Division in the 2012 Eclipse Award is quite an accomplishment, and nothing to sneeze at. Lava Man must be busting with pride right now! You, handsome chestnut colt, are his best pupil. - LOL. Good work, Lava Man!! Congratulations to I'll Have Another, Doug O'Neill, Mario Gutierrez, Victor Davila, IHA's former owner, Paul Reddam, and I'll Have Another's current owner, Mr. Okada of Big Red Farm in Hokkaido, Japan, on I'll Have Another winning this wonderful honor. From the humblest of beginnings to the heights of Superstardom & prestigious awards and accolades. The stuff of great novels and legend. I'll Have Another took everyone on a wonderful, incredible Magic Carpet ride in 2012, and that ride sure was fun! He is quite a horse!
Teri Tablack Popovich More than 1 year ago
We can only imagine what this horse may have done, but alas, injury stopped him. He will forever be in my heart as not only 3 year old of the year, but Horse of the Year, and most probably our long awaited Triple Crown Winner. He would have eaten up the track at 1 1/2 miles in the Belmont had he run. My only regret other than that is how they shipped him to Japan (no offense to the Japanese) but I live in the USA and would love to know he is right here producing lots of little "Curley Cue's" --that was always my affection name for that beautiful curly mane of his! Thank you IHA
Benjamin Ricciardi More than 1 year ago
You must not watch a lot of horse racing if you think this colt was some sort of super horse. He's as pedestrian as they come and got good at the right time of year. He was over used and ultimately broke down because of it. That's not a super horse, he's just a regular guy who caught a few good breaks.
BBT More than 1 year ago
And he would have relished the mile and a half of the Belmont! But alas, another bummer :( He should be horse of the year, he ran 4 different distances and won all 4, showing his versatility. And he always dug in when he needed to and fought gamely to win all 4 in 2012. Can't beat a perfect record.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I have believed in this outstanding, talented, chestnut horse from his very first post parade as a two year old. I believed in him when other people scoffed at him and laughed before his races. They were no longer scoffing and laughing after his races, though! - LOL. I believed in this horse during his Derby chase, and then through his Triple Crown chase. I love IHA's "never quit" attitude, his tenacity and his courageous heart. I will always be a believer in this horse. Thank you, I'll Have Another. You brought fun, excitement and thrills to millions this year through your racing feats. You always came ready with your "A" game, and you brought it with you to the table each and every race. "Wow!" is the word that always came out of my mouth about you after all of your electrifying races, and "Wow!" is the word I will always associate with you, I'll Have Another. You are a way cool champion horse, buddy!
Deborah Marple More than 1 year ago
You have to vote for I'll Have Another as the horse of the year 2012 and best 3 year old as he was fantastic and might have done great in the final race, but for the sake of his leg, it was the best decision overall, but he had gumption and loads of it.