06/11/2012 1:36PM

I'll Have Another leaves Belmont Park for Hollywood home

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I'll Have Another
I'll Have Another, whose scratch from the Belmont Stakes ended his Triple Crown bid, was headed back to California on Monday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The cameras that heralded his arrival some 22 days ago were non-existent Monday morning when I’ll Have Another left Barn 9 at Belmont Park and was loaded onto a horse trailer.

Only the crew that had been with him on the Triple Crown journey and a few members of trainer Mark Hennig’s staff – Hennig is based in Barn 9 – were around to bid farewell to I’ll Have Another, four stablemates and their famous stable pony Lava Man.

So it was that at 8:28 a.m. a steel-gray van left Belmont Park headed for Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y. I’ll Have Another, scratched from the Belmont Stakes on Friday with a tendon injury and subsequently retired, was to be flown cross-country on a Tex Sutton plane that was to stop in Louisville, dropping off, among others, the champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta for Saturday’s Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs.

I’ll Have Another was to arrive in Southern California late Monday afternoon when he would be bedded down at trainer Doug O’Neill’s Hollywood Park barn for the immediate future. One can bet there will be ceremonies held at Hollywood Park to salute the Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero, but none has been announced yet.

Back at Belmont, assistant trainer Jack Sisterson – who arrived at Belmont with I’ll Have Another on May 20 – gave thanks to O’Neill and I’ll Have Another for the thrills of a Triple Crown run.

“All the guys are just so happy to have been part of the Triple Crown journey,” Sisterson said. “Obviously, it wasn’t the most ideal ending, but you know the horse is happy that he’s going off to a great career now.”

After participating in a brief retirement ceremony Saturday in the Belmont winner’s circle immediately after the running of the Manhattan Handicap, I’ll Have Another was brought back to Barn 9. Sisterson said he and other members of O’Neill’s team watched the Belmont Stakes – in which Union Rags beat Paynter by a neck – on a television in Hennig’s office.

“It was a bit of a bummer,” Sisterson said, “but congratulations to Michael Matz and the connections. They did a fantastic job.”