05/27/2012 1:31PM

Belmont Stakes 2012: O'Neill checks in on I'll Have Another, likes what he sees

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Doug O’Neill arrived in New York early Sunday morning following the red-eye flight from Southern California. Any jet-lag he may have felt from the cross-country trip dissipated after laying eyes on his Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another.

 “I thought he looked great; just going in the stall and seeing him, his legs were ice cold and he had cleaned up his feed tub,” said O’Neill, who arrived at Belmont around 6:15 a.m., 45 minutes after his plane landed. “He continues to amaze me the way he’s handled all this and continues to thrive.”

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

Sunday was the first morning O’Neill had seen I’ll Have Another since May 20, the day after I’ll Have Another won the Preakness by a neck over Bodemeister to set up his run at history in the June 9 Belmont Stakes. I’ll Have Another, who won the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths on May 5, will attempt to become the sport’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

 “I can’t believe I’m in this spot,” O’Neill said. “I’m proof if you have a talented horse and got a great team and a great staff, miracles can happen. It’s all about the horse and he is an amazing horse.”

O’Neill went home following the Preakness to spend some time with his family and check in on his large stable at Hollywood Park. He also learned his fate from the California Horse Racing Board, which suspended him for 45 days for one of his horses testing for an excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide. High TCO2 levels are commonly associated with the illegal practice of “milkshaking” horses, something given a horse for additional stamina.

Though the CHRB ruling said there was no evidence of the horse Argenta receiving a milkshake - a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, sugar and electrolytes - in a race at Del Mar on Aug. 25, 2010, it still suspended O’Neill under the trainer insurer rule. O’Neill has steadfastly denied giving the horse a milkshake.

 “I was shocked they announced it the time they did,” O’Neill said. “I was very thrilled that they said what I had been saying all along - that there was no wrongdoing. In a way, it’s good to get all of that out of the way now and just focus on what it’s all about and it’s about the horse and this historical event.”

O’Neill said he will not decide whether to appeal that suspension - and a $15,000 fine - until after the Belmont Stakes. The CHRB announced that the suspension would not take effect until July 1 at the earliest.

“I’m not sure why I got suspended after them realizing there was no wrongdoing but we’ll figure that out after the Belmont,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said he does not plan to give I’ll Have Another a timed workout between now the Belmont Stakes. He said he believes I’ll Have Another gets enough out of his morning gallops to have him fit.

On Sunday, I’ll Have Another galloped 1 1/8 miles over a Belmont main track that was sloppy and sealed from a thunderstorm that hit at 8 a.m., just before the renovation break.

 “He just skipped over it. He looked great,” O’Neill said. “The first couple of days we were at Pimlico it had a light seal on it and he skipped over that as well. It didn’t seem to bother him at all.”

O’Neill said he’s not surprised that I’ll Have Another could have as many as 11 opponents in the starting gate on Belmont Day.

 “I could see where people would think our horse has run two tough races and might be eligible to be a little tired and not at his best,” O’Neill said. “From what I saw today he’s ready.”

Those expected to face I’ll Have Another include Alpha, Atigun, Dullahan, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Optimizer, Paynter, Ravelo’s Boy, Street Life, Union Rags, and Unstoppable U.

 

 

JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Go Team Reddam and I'll Have Another!! You are doing a fabulous job with IHA - thanks for taking such good care with him!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
you're like a heckler at a baseball game jumping all over the umpire for calling a fair game. the picther is tired and can't seem to find the plate but still you believe he's throwin 100% and the umpire is just blind or routing for the other team..... SORRY FOR BEING CRUDE IN MY ANALOGY BUT IT'S A FAIR ONE....
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
AND JOY.. if you read my posts you would know i don't GAMBLE. IT LOOKS BAD FOR MY BOSS IF HIS ASSISTANT IS RUNNING TO BET AT THE GRANDSTAND RATHER THAN CARE FOR THE HORSES... I DO WELL ENOUGH OFF WORKING AND %ages.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I've read a ton of your messages and none of them have said who you work for, so as far as we all know you have plenty of opportunity to bet. And you could be betting on the sly - just because your "boss" doesn't like seeing you do it you could do it from your computer or an electronic device with no prying eyes. And come clean - just WHO is this "boss" you work for? Be transparent and tell us. Happy to hear you are well off enough with what you make in wages. What a coincidence, so am I. God has been good to me!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I HAVE OPPORTUNITY. I CHOOSE TO STAY IN THE BARN. GOOD BYE JOY... GOOD LUCK IN RACING OR WHATEVER YOU DO. SORRY IF MY RESEARCH HAS OFFENDED YOU.... but i been here a while and have a good idea what's up. i do admire IHA and your loyalty. don't lose that optimism it's quite a good quality. i'll let you know after the belmont who my boss is....... when things calm down and people not so irrate of all the he said she said stuff..... and the finger [pointing is resolved by the race results.. fair enough???
"Roy Hobbs" More than 1 year ago
Hey little miss perfect, why don't you quit accusing people of things you don't know. Stick to horses . . . if you have anything intelligent to say.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I must be finding the plate, Tom, because you took the time to write me this nasty little message. I have yet to criticize Union Rags or Michael Matz - when you tell me how invicible they are I just laugh to myself and move on. Maybe you should do the same when you see my posts in support of IHA. Show some courtesy, it would be refreshing.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
oh man.. this stuff everywhere now... win or lose i route for all horses. i love watching them come through the morning mist. hearing them breathe before you can actually get a visual. i love feed time when they come bouncing to the front of their stalls to greet me. i love walking through the barn at night with nothing but the stall light on and seeing them pick their sleepy heads up to say hello with a little nicker heare and there. CAN WE ALL NOW JUST FOCUS ON THE PURITY OF THESE DIVINE ATHLETES? JUST WATCH THEM COMPETE AND SHOW US THEIR HEARTS. PLEASE.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Good afternoon, Tom. Nice to speak with you today. I agree with you - horses are magnificent athletes and I love watching them in their glory. Thanks for sharing that sentiment with us today, it's one we all share, I'm sure. Have a good day!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
i'm just trying to give the horse their just dues here.... you have a great day as well... did you at least look up some points made..... objectively researched facts.. everyone who loves the purity of this sport has to admire IHA just concerns me the type of people getting credit for his greatness. the cali ruling made prior to new york's standpoint on the flairs is just the tip of the iceburg. trainer insurer rule is vey vast and covers many issues... so if i were doug and i was innocent i would fight not plea out.... cause any other violations while on probation will sully this horse and he'll be explaining lots.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Hi Tom. Actually, I have been following this issue for awhile and as you can probably tell, I am rather thorough. I make sure I do my homework and I don't make snap judgments or blind judgments. We will never know what advice Doug's lawyer gave him - he may have persuaded Doug to make a plea just to make the matter go away and enable Doug to go on with his life. That kind of advice is given all of the time by attorneys. If you have read some of the statements made by Doug lately, he IS going to appeal this ruling upon advice from Mr. Reddam and others, and the ruling will probably be reversed because California officials could not prove that any infraction had actually occurred. You cannot hand out a suspension if you admit yourself that you can't prove any of your own allegations. So I still stand by my original opinion. We will just agree to disagee on this matter, Tom. We can still be friends. My main objection is the manner in which all of this was handled by the California officials, Tom. They handled this whole thing very poorly and deliberately made their announcement in a way that they knew would be harmful and disruptive. It was a classless act on their part. They did a smear job in the press - that alone says to me that there was an agenda behind releasing the ruling and information in this fashion. To me, that was a huge misuse of their power and authority. JMHO. Wishing you a great day! - Joy
R. Martin More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable! The PollyAnna IHA Cheering Club is out in full force. After IHA gets trounced sans enhanced respiration aid, these same folks will bemoan the bad racing luck of IHA or some other idiotic excuse. This is no Citation, no Affirmed, no Seattle Slew, and for sure no Secreteriat! Just a basic Grade III racehorse aided by questionable procedures. I am 99% sure he will be soundly defeated June 9.
Annalisa Sumaray More than 1 year ago
The way you sound, I almost mistook you as someone who has horse racing background or another one of those that resents because you're not part of IHA success? What do you know? And if you're so sure, why only 99% he's going to lose?
Annalisa Sumaray More than 1 year ago
I will never claim to know horseracing nor I am involved in any of the sport. I am allergic to horses and I can't afford to have one because they are costly. I am very curious as to how you can only be 99% and not 100%. I know I've been 100% since I picked him to win in the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. I would call that beginner's luck!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Jealous much, Mr. Martin? Aren't you a Union Rags supporter? I'm sure if Union Rags was the horse going for the Triple Crown, people would be accusing YOU of being a Polyanna because you have been leading the chorus of cheers over on the Union Rags forum explaining to us why Union Rags is much better than his record indicates and how he is a lock to win the Belmont Stakes. Yes, I am a I'll Have Another fan and I wear the tiara proudly! - LOL. I have admired IHA from the moment I set eyes on him, I saw a horse with heart and speed and tenacity and determination and intelligence, and I will never apologize to anyone about admiring him. It is my hope no one else who admires IHA will apologize for it either, no matter how many misguided hecklers come out of the woodwork to ridicule them for their love for this wonderful horse. And there is absolutely nothing Polyanna-ish about me either, and there never has been. However, there is nothing wrong with being an enthusiastic person, which is what I am. I'm sure enthusiasm is the trait you are actually calling "Polyanna"-ish. Being enthusiastic is an admirable trait for any person to have in life, no matter whether they are young or old. Go Team Reddam and I'll Have Another!!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
joy.. really admire your enthusiasum for this colt despite his trainer.... but IHA IS TIRED. any trainer who doesn't work his horse leading up to a race of this size is telling us all just that.. between derby and preakness makes sense... but not giving IHA a work before the belmont is a BIG HINT.... I GIVE HIM THIRD AT BEST..... and now he has the nyra steward decision to blame and fall back on instead of the truth. once again shifty.... shadey.... AND YOU KNOW ITS NOT THE HORSE'S FAULT...
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Tom, IHA has had to run three races in five weeks. Of course he's a little tired. So was Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Secretariat and War Admiral at this point of the competition. They overcame being tired and won the Belmont Stakes and it is my belief that I'll Have Another will as well. I'll Have Another is already a true champion. He's also a disrespected one as well. If Bodemeister had won both legs of the Triple Crown so far I am absolutely certain that he would be heralded as a super horse and an unbeatable horse. I didn't hear all of the naysaying I'm hearing today when Smarty Jones and Real Quiet and Big Brown made a run at winning the Belmont - only statements of invincibility. I heard a lot of doubt when Charismatic ran for it and the only reason that poor horse did not win the TC was because he was running on a broken leg during the Belmont. Despite that broken leg he ran a courageous third in that race - the horse tried his hardest to win the race through excruciating pain, he NEVER gave up. One of the most courageous things I have ever witnessed. I don't know why I'll Have Another is the horse that ALWAYS has to "prove" to everyone that he is really the real deal - guess what, he IS the real deal. He is a champion. IHA doesn't have to "prove" anything to me - I recognized and acknowledged his greatness long, long ago. At the end of the day on June 9, 2012, it is my hope and my prayer that all of the naysayers will just slide away into the mist, and we will all AT LAST have another Triple Crown winner!! Go Team Reddam and I'll Have Another!!
anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't know anything about training or preparing horses and refuse to listen to someone who does. Instead you immediately launch into an argument about over-training. Thomas Cook is right to be suspicious about the training regimen O'Neill uses, no works, only galloping. Your regard for I'll Have Another borders on insanity, from what I can see from your posts. One other thing, he's small, for me that ruins the image, and perfection of a hero horse. That's probably why he's not respected as much as some others. I don't think Funny Cide or Smarty Jones or others in that string of triple hopefuls were all that respected either.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
And if I'll Have Another was my horse, I wouldn't be overworking him before the race, that's just plain stupid. Many football coaches do that before big games and then their teams come out flat on Sunday afternoon and everybody starts questioning why, when it is evident why they came out flat as a pancake. Doug O'Neill never overworks I'll Have Another, if you had been following how they have handled IHA before a big race, you would know that. I'll Have Another will be ready come June 9th. I think that's what you and the Union Rags contingent is really afraid of. Union Rags fans seem to underestimate every horse in this race - I'll Have Another, Dullahan, Paynter among them. BIG MISTAKE!! Union Rags is just as vulnerable as all of the other horse in this race - you all should remember that!! He is not a lock to win this race - far from it!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
And you know that the NYRA and the stewards' ruling was a not-very-well-disguised attempt to give a helping hand in aiding Union Rags and to protect the state and the racetrack from a breach of contract lawsuit from the pharmaceutical companies the state has a contract with in using only Lasix/Sasix. We've all heard enough from the excuse-makers over the last two legs of the Triple Crown - especially from the Bodemeister contingent, the Gemologist contingent and the Union Rags contingent. None of you should be throwing stones at anyone else when it come to issuing excuses because you all are living in glass houses in that regard. We don't insult Union Rags or Dullahan or anyone else in the race. We respect the competition and have confidence in our classy colt, and deservely so!! Go I'll Have Another!!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
people's love for this colt have obscured the reality that the trainer is a cheat and the horse is tired. my friends and i broke it down rationally and they still won't take the rose colored glasses off.... his last four have taken their toll. UNION RAGS AND DULLAHAN WITH ALPHA AND PAYNTER. PERIOD...
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
You have your opinion, Tom. We have ours. I realize you're trying to get a good price for this race because you have been supporting Union Rags throughout the Triple Crown chase, so that means you need to make chase after the money you have already lost on Union Rags and possibly even Bodemeister. This time around, it might be a good idea to for you to add I'll Have Another in your betting plans. I see not having IHA in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness has made you rather desperate to recoup your losses.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I DO NOT GAMBLE. GO READ ALL MY POSTS. I EARN MY MONEY BY CARING FOR HORSES AND I DO WELL ENOUGH. I WOULD RATHER MY BOSSES CLIENTS SEE HIS HELP IN THE BARN TAKING CARE OF THEIR INVESTMENTS THAN RUNNING TO BETTING BOOTHS LIKE A CHICKEN WITH HIS HEAD CUT OFF. I JUST KNOW HORSES AND UNDERSTAND THE BUSINESS. THE HORSES I SEE TRAIN AND ROUTE FOR BECAUSE OF THE CLASS OF THEIR CONNECTIONS AND THEIR ABILITEIS COULD ALL BE 100-1 AND I JUST WATCH
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
R . Martin : you know as well as I do , there is no use to voice our opinion reguarding ILL HAVE ANOTHER ! People dont like to hear the TRUTH . My opinion - It doesnt matter ( WHOM ) a person follows thru-out the Triple Crown Series . A person will drink the Sand if they are thirsty enough because they dont know the differance . I personally ave nothing against O'Neill Racing Stable . I visit them on a regular basis at Hollywood Park / Santa Anita , along with many other stables . Those places jut feels so much like home - since I started working with thoroughbreds in 1978 . I am now retired Yet I still stay very close to the business . Im lost and lonely with-out doing so . ( ILL HAVE ANOTHER ) Martin looks to be slowing down over the last 5 days . You know O'Neill wont say much about it , nor will the Media . The Media - Public want to see a Triple Crown colt this year . I asure you Martin , the Groom has seen the signs of a change . O'Neill is doing the correct thing in Not Working this colt out over the Belmont track . Lightly Gallops seems to be the calling . ILL HAVE ANOTHER is beginning to get tired . With all due respect , this colt has been awesome thru-out this Spring . I agree with you 100% about getting defated soundly in the Belmont Stakes . I arrived in ELMONT , NY last week . Will be here tru-out June 10th . I am very eager to see the likes of ALPHA - DULLAHAN - STREET LIFE - UNION RAGS ................. I left Maryland " Fair Hills " . Say , do you know Peter Brette personally ! A very good horseman . Wonderful person ! I am one of millions that have liked UNION RAGS . I have liked this colt since his Debut race . Little by little I got closer to this colt - Thanks to Brette / Matz . I am hoping UNION RAGS stays healthy and 95% - 100% leading up to the starting gate of the Belmont Stakes . AS OF LAST WEEK - UNION RAGS WAS AT ( 110% ) If there is such a thing . 100% thats for sure . Brette has said many times that the distance will be No Issue for UNION RAGS . I truly believe so a well ! Keeping my fingures crossed ! BELMONT STAKES is where CHAMPIONS are crowned - not the KENTUCKY DERBY ........... and im even a Lexington Born and raised Native , so I might afend my KENTUCKIANS , but the truth of the matter is ( The Truth )
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
WOW dude!!! u should be a writer for the DRF LOL!!!
raymond More than 1 year ago
I'll Have Another is a BRILLIANT thoroughbred. My main concern is that he is a happy horse. A Happy Horse is a Running horse. I have been keeping a close eye on him and I can tell you with all certainty that he has not turned a hair since his first start. Doug O'neil and Jack Sisterson have confirmed for me that IHA will be strong and on his game as of today. Taking it one day at a time. A lot can happen between now and June 9th. But I'm all over him like white on rice.
Annalisa Sumaray More than 1 year ago
Hear, hear mr raymond
John Burton More than 1 year ago
Go Team Reddam & IHA! Best wishes for continued health and well-being! IHA be your best and bring your best! Then we will see you in the Haskell or Travers! ...Triple Crown Winner, Horse of the Year! Legend!
R. Martin More than 1 year ago
And don't forget to buy some Facebook stock and nominate it for Stock of the Century.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Doug O"neill said he won't work IHA before the Belmont. IHA will be very sharp because of that and will be on or very close to to the lead.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
i don't know about that... i think he's telling us his colt may be a little tired and he's trying to preserve his energy and not blow it in a workout before the race.
mrm More than 1 year ago
I guess we will find out in two weeks but he comments every day about how much energy IHA has and how IHA gallops like most horses train.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
would you say, if you were doug, facing all this scrutiny that he is in cali about CO2 TESTS and here in new york about the flair. that the horse everyone is watching maybe a little fatigued because of his las four battles??? or would you lightly train the horsee to try to keep him fresh and blame any losses on nyra????
mrm More than 1 year ago
Whether the horse is tired or not by not working him its almost a certainty that IHA will be extra sharp and will run closer if not on the lead. Smarty Jones was trained the same leading up to the Belmont. From all accounts he seems to be training up a storm. Sometimes they can fool you during training. Racing is a whole different ballgame.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
And that's an excellent strategy, Tom. Why would any sane individual work your champion horse to death on days that don't even count? You would save the horse's energy for race day. You know you would. Your speculations are totally baseless. I hope you are paying half as much attention to Union Rags' workouts as you appear to be watching I'll Have Another's. You are just proving to all of us that the Union Rags contingent is not nearly as confident in their horse as they keep saying that they are! - LOL.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
this is fun.. how's this for confidence.... come to new york... when union rags wins i'll meet you outside the winners circle with tissues..okay??
Gerald Sabo More than 1 year ago
There are at least 6 of the horses listed that shouldn't be in the race.
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
Hope IHA runs his race, hope he wins. Wishing him good racing luck.
Gee More than 1 year ago
What a fairy tail story. Unbelieveable??
Betany Caballero More than 1 year ago
A better movie than Seabiscuit or Secretartiat.
freecharm More than 1 year ago
It doesn't take much to be better than Secretariat, the movie. The horse, we'll see.
Gerald Sabo More than 1 year ago
Yep, the Secretariat movie stunk. This is a good story too but not better. Good luck to IHA and the team.
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
I agree about the Secretariat movie. Maybe some of us know too much, have read too much, have watched tons of utube clips. The movie was bound to be a disappointment...and it was. On the other hand, it was intended to highlight and focus on Penny Chenery's role and the director told her that this was a Disney movie and not a documentary. Even so, it was disappointing to me. Having said all of that, I still bought it and watched it more than a dozen times. :) What can I say?
Jerry Sabo More than 1 year ago
I did too but no mention of Riva Ridge holding the farm together until the big horse got rolling and on and on. Your right, we know and have read to much.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
yes it would be so much, I mean how often do you get to see horses drink milk shakes. wonder what is IHA favorite flavor is. I bet he likes chocolate.
LamarH More than 1 year ago
Maybe you didn't catch the outcome of the last hearing? No wrong doing. By the way, they do test the Derby and Preakness horses for that. Pretty sure I'll Have Another was clean. Go wipe your tears with your missed Bode win tickets.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
You are neither witty or funny.
Gee More than 1 year ago
Scary if hes skippin over slop?? He will murder that field. WOW