05/31/2012 11:56AM

Belmont Stakes 2012: I’ll Have Another avoids collision with loose horse


ELMONT, N.Y. – The Belmont Stakes nearly lost its marquee player Thursday morning when a different horse got loose and nearly ran into Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another during training hours at Belmont Park.

I’ll Have Another was not touched by the loose horse and was able to complete his normal training regimen without issue, but it created some anxious moments for trainer Doug O’Neill.

“I’m still a little twisted by it,” O’Neill said, holding his stomach about an hour after the incident. “I’ve seen accidents happen before. Fortunately, everything worked out fine.”

I’ll Have Another galloped a strong mile under exercise rider Jonny Garcia.

Barbara D. Livingston
Exercise rider Jonny Garcia notices 3-year-old filly Isleta running loose on the main track where I'll Have Another was training Thursday morning, accompanied by Lava Man.

The incident led to O’Neill calling NYRA officials to see if they would designate a certain time solely for Belmont Stakes horses to train. P.J. Campo, vice president/director of racing for NYRA, was working out the logistics of such an arrangement late Thursday morning. Such an arrangement is in place at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.

The horse who got loose was 3-year-old maiden filly Isleta, bred and co-owned by the Steinbrenner family’s Kinsman Stable and recently transferred to trainer Carl Domino.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]