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Beyer: A defining moment for I'll Have Another in the Preakness
By Andrew Beyer
BALTIMORE - I’ll Have Another came into the Preakness facing one of the toughest possible tactical situations in racing. His most formidable rival, Bodemeister, was the solitary front-runner in the field and would be able to control the pace as his jockey dictated. That’s usually a formula for victory whether the scenario develops in a maiden race or the second leg of the Triple Crown.
So when I’ll Have Another made his last surge in the Pimlico stretch and caught the leader, this wasn’t simply a case of a stretch-runner overhauling a tired leader. Bodemeister is a superior speed horse, and he ran as well today as he has ever done in his short career. I’ll Have Another’s performance - though the winning margin was only a neck - was much more impressive and authoritative than his triumph in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier.
He and Bodemeister both ran fast and trounced the rest of the field by almost nine lengths, erasing the impression that is a mediocre group of 3-year-olds.
In the Derby, Bodemeister had to set a torrid pace in order to outrun other fast rivals, and I’ll Have Another’s little-known jockey, Mario Gutierrez, secured a perfect trip to rally and catch the tired favorite in the stretch. But when the other speed horses defected from the Preakness field, Gutierrez was put in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t position. Should he try to put pressure on Bodemeister, and risk enervating his own mount, or let Bodemeister have an unchallenged lead. Before the race, Gutierrez told trainer Doug O’Neill: “If he goes slow I want to beat on top of him.” O’Neill assented.
But when the gate opened at Pimlico, Gutierrez did something that demonstrated a coolness and sophistication that few people would have expected from a jockey who had spent most of his life in the minor leagues. He didn’t try to impose his will on his horse. He neither restrained I’ll Have Another nor pushed him to chase Bodemeister. He got him out of the gate with alacrity, but then was willing to let I’ll Have Another run his own race.
As Bodemeister took command early, another rival, Creative Cause, tried to chase the leader and apply mild pressure while I’ll Have Another settled into fourth place and got hung three-wide on the first turn. As owner Paul Reddam watched, he was fretting: “When he got caught wide at the first turn, I was saying ‘I don’t know if I like this.’”
Jockey Mike Smith, meanwhile, loved the way the Preakness was developing. He was nursing Bodemeister on the lead, maintaining a one-length advantage over Creative Cause, and his mount was behaving perfectly. Bodemeister wasn’t headstrong, as young horses with his running style can be; he cruised on the lead and hit the half-mile mark in 47.68 seconds - a soft pace that should have given him an insuperable advantage. It was the slowest half-mile in the Preakness since 1982, when Aloma’s Ruler went in :48 and proceeded to lead all the way. The racing strip at Pimlico Saturday was relatively slow, but the track was no slower than last year, when Shackleford vied for the lead in 46.87 and went on to win.
Bodemeister shook off the ineffectual challenge of Creative Cause on the turn and opened a three-length advantage in the stretch. That’s when Gutierrez asked his mount to run in earnest. At first, he barely cut into the leader’s margin; Bodemeister was still strong after those slow fractions. An eighth of a mile from the finish line, I’ll Have Another still looked beaten. That was Smith’s impression. “I thought I put him away,” the Hall-of-Famer said. Bodemeister’s trainer, Bob Baffert, was feeling confident, too: “I really thought he was going to do.”
But in that final furlong, to the roar of 121,309 people, I’ll Have Another surged powerfully and Bodemeister could not repel the challenge, just as he couldn’t repel it at Churchill Downs. Though the finish at Pimlico may have looked much like the Derby to casual observers, this race helped redefine both horses - and this equine generation.
I’ll Have Another’s final time of 1:55.94 was a super effort considering the slowness of the racing strip. He and Bodemeister earned preliminary Beyer Speed Figures of 109, which would be the fastest Preakness performance since Curlin - the eventual horse of the year - won in 2007. The winner is not in the league of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed - names that will be evoked frequently in the next three weeks as I’ll Have Another aims to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. But he proved at Pimlico that he is worthy of the task.
(c) 2012, The Washington Post
Good Morning Andy... Time to come clean. And now to AKA Anonymous for the topic.
ok watched read all everyone has to say belmont results ........street life dullhan IAH ROUSING SERMON UNION RAGS ............
there is no intentional bashing, here, on Andy, personally, his figs are often over-hyped, inaccurate, etc. The one comment I always said was, :Andy couldn't carry my DRF", which is my opinion. As Cecil just said, there is too much bad speak here, confidence is one thing, losing (and winning humbly) is another. The Best commentary on the Belmont, and on Bode and IHA individually, was just had on ,(ISYN) TVG, Nick Heinz, and Christina Olivares!
All the bad-speak in this thread has me sick. I'll Have Another and Bodemeister can BOTH prove they are among the greatest of all time; but Bode will never be beaten by IHA at 9 furlongs. And Bode will never get the nod at 10. I'd love to see Bode in the Met Mile. IHA can do the Triple Crown if he can get by Dullahan.
And a defining moment in a man Beyer, is what? Perhaps the moment when he rights his wrongs?
ILL HAVE ANOTHER : will go down in defeat . 1st of all , the colts that have an Advantage are the ones that have already had a Start over the track - prior - to the Kentucky Derby . This ( Use ) to be a huge factor thru-out the years . I would say this might be the year it comes to life once again . I have not been this excited about the Belmont Stakes in a long tme . UNION RAGS : in my opinion looks like a Solid - Best - Bet ( If Stays Fit -Sound ) into the starting gate . I ow all eyes are on ILL HAVE ANOTHER , as rightly so , should be ! After all , people are all most ready to drink the sand - waiting for another Triple Crown for so long . BUT ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ! " Plain and Simple " You will hear for the next two weeks how UNION RAGS can run that far ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaa . TEST of the CHAMPION ...................................... Belmont Stakes is where winners are Crowned for the Breeding - Not the Kentucky Derby . And im even born and raised out-side Lexington , Ky . The Derby is wonderful to Win , by all means . But the Belmont Stakes is where CHAMPIONS are made . UNION RAGS in a ROMP drawing away
I'll have another milkshake
Just reminding the venerable Andy that these "unsophisticated " fans remember him picking BodeChrister twice. And he wasn't particularly genteel about the first loss. Who is he picking to upset IHA in the Belmont? His man-crush Baffert is running a horse with the same loveable OPEC owner (laughed my head off when NBC did the peice on Pimlico piping water into his RV so he could shower...um...right) Let's get to the prognosticatin AB!!! Chop chop.
I watch horse racing for fun. Most of you guys are pathetic.
Andrew... It's past 11, time to apologize to Jockey Martinez. Oh, also Trinniberg worked a half in 47 flat this morning.
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