Updated on 06/09/2012 7:29PM

I'll Have Another's team shows no bitterness

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O'Neill leads I'll Have Another away from Friday's press conference announcing the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner's retirement.

ELMONT, N.Y. – On the day after, the connections of I’ll Have Another expressed gratitude for what they did achieve, not remorse for what they didn’t.

Trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez were still somber and subdued Saturday, 24 hours after their Triple Crown dreams were dashed when I’ll Have Another was found to have a tendon injury that not only forced him out of the Belmont Stakes, but prompted owner J. Paul Reddam to retire the colt.

“It’s a little tough, a little sad, but the trainer and the owner are making the decision for the horse’s good,” Gutierrez said. “He’s the one that brought us here, so we try to take care of him. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t even be here.”

O’Neill, sounding a bit exhausted, said he felt more disappointed for his employees and staff than himself and said he hoped to be back on the Triple Crown trail as early as next year.

“I’ve been going through all kinds of different emotions,” O’Neill said in a phone interview. “But through the journey I gained a lot of confidence, and I’m hoping to be here every year – in there running against [Wayne] Lukas and [Bob] Baffert.”

Gutierrez still had some action at Belmont on Saturday, riding three mounts. He finished last aboard Last Cat in a maiden race; was third aboard Politicallycorrect in the Easy Goer Stakes; and eased Brian, a recent purchase by Reddam, to the finish in the Woody Stephens.

In between, Gutierrez met with the media in the Belmont Park winner’s circle about five hours and fifty feet from where he had hoped to be on Saturday.

Six weeks ago, few knew who Gutierrez was before put up two sensational rides on I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

“I’ll Have Another has done nothing but make my dreams come true,” Guiterrez said, wearing the red and white silks of Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the owners of Politicallycorrect. “It was an unbelievable journey this journey of the Triple Crown . . . I got the Kentucky Derby, I got the Preakness. Those are staying with me for the rest of my life and [I’m] just thankful to I’ll Have Another . . . .”

Gutierrez said he never allowed himself to think about winning the Triple Crown before it happened.

“I never thought about the Triple Crown,” Gutierrez said. “I take one race at a time. My head was focused on the Belmont Stakes. That’s all I was thinking of was the Belmont. If I got to race and win it, then I was going to take everything that came with it.”

Gutierrez said he was headed back to Southern California on Sunday and that he would ride be splitting time riding between there and Woodbine.

O’Neill was also headed back to California on Sunday. He told NBC's Bob Costas that he will contest the 45-day suspension handed him by the California Horse Racing Board for one of his horse’s having an excess level of total carbon dioxide.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman

Brian Neuens More than 1 year ago
People that watch horse racing for the 5 weeks the "BIG TV" gets paid to show it, have no clue on what they are talking about. I hope you keep on betting who they tell you to every year, I love collecting the money from those who bad mouth a sport , a sport which has been on Earth 10 times longer than they have, and will be here 10 times longer after your gone. If ya don't like it don't watch it, but keep your uneducated spew to yourselves.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
That wasn't much of a ceremony. I left the room and it was over. Can't hear what Doug or Mario are saying over noise on tube. Again, shame on NY! Nice goin' Gov, ha!
Hoss Hammer More than 1 year ago
IHA would have clobbered these guys by 10 plus lengths. UR should have destroyed off that trip but he is not that great. to bad IHA didnt get the chance and im sick of hearing about O'neill bein a cheater. they test winners of $5k claimers so do u really think they didnt test IHA in the SA and KY derby and preakness give your head a shake. you wanna see real cheaters look up the likes of dutrow and pletcher. as for matz crying good for him most of u would cry if u won a maiden allowance so whats the problem with that
. More than 1 year ago
Hoe do you know IHA would have beaten UR? Have they race under fair conditions?! Rather stupid and factless argument. Go back and learn some.more dumb dumb
Vince Vitale More than 1 year ago
Ark. derby ran same day as OK handicap Bode went 7-8 lengths faster, PM Special ran on same speed track if compare other times of day on Fri.&Sat.as Preakness, Preakness almost 2sec. faster. Lesser older horses, w/exp. of Redemptn, ran on a simlar speed track, comparing times of claimers on both fri. and sat. cards, went 8 lengths faster than Belmont IHA would have one the Bel. by 8-13 lengths
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
I definitely agree. Paynter set pace just like Bodeymeister and IHA would have gone after the silk, winning on stamina and will, just like the Derby and Preakness. NY gave it away!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please REMEMBER that horse racing is a GAMBLING game. Which means that all other horse matters, issues, decisions always come second to the gambling and money that the track officials either keep, or pay out. The track takeout is NOT the big piece of the pie. Thats just "on the record" money. Racing's big prize is to confuse the public and then keep the greater percentage of race handle. People it is NOT just the takeout they keep.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Gotta lotta miserable folk hanging out on drf.com. Losers.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
You are so right. I've wondering why these people bother with HR at all. I'm sure team IHA is more than thrilled to leave NY. Ive never seen such negative press. NY drove ONeill and team away. Not one bit of respect for a derby and Preakness win! No wonder there's been no TC. Belmont is a TC breaker before the race. I'm very disappointed in the series of events that took place at Belmont.
Crickett Hoffman More than 1 year ago
Most of it unintelligible spew. There for a moment I thought I had stumbled onto one of those political sites.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
There was politics involved. The Gov stepped in with new regulations for all the teams, but aimed at O'Neill. That's NY politics.
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
I hope you people do not sound like this at home or at work. Good grief. Spite, anger and negativity. No wonder you think horse racing is going down the tubes. It is the echo of your own wretchedness.
ellen zehnder More than 1 year ago
Gees, most of you guys need to learn how to spell. IHA trainer scratched him because he didn't want to get caught cheating! Are you alright? Michael Matz was crying and you criticize him! Are you alright? IHA and his jockey (another class guy) gave us thrills and hope for a Triple Crown winner. He did what was asked of him and did it well. I would have loved to seen him run that race, but it wasn't to be, so I wish him a great retirement to stud and a long and happy life. We ask these great athletes to trust us, and they do, so let's give them the respect they deserve. As for Michael Matz; I was thrilled for him. He's a good man, a good trainer, and an even better humanitarian. Does anyone remember that burning plane that he went back into, to save three children????? How many of you would have done that? Kudos to Michael and Union Rags. I would be crying too if my horse had just won the test of champions.
Kevin Ryan More than 1 year ago
Matz was a great rider. Fantastic. I really don't know how good of a horse person he is. Vets can let you wander.
freecharm More than 1 year ago
Hi, You wrote: "I would be crying too if my horse had just won the test of champions." It's "The Test of the Champion". You may also be interested that, in the last 19 years, only four Belmont winners have gone on to win Eclipse Awards for three year-old male champ . Should be called the Test of the Infrequent Champ. Btw, the years 1972-1992 saw 12 Bel Stakes winners go on to become 3yo champs. It's just not the same old song anymore.
Jennifer Earll More than 1 year ago
Geez!Learn how to spell yourself.O'Neill didn't scratch him because he was cheating...you could tell IHA was uncomfortable grazing and standing on that left leg.Would you rather them run IHA in the biggest race of (their lives) and come up lame or Worse?Remember Barbaro &Eight Belles? Or are you just jumping on the horse racing bandwagon so your ASSinine opinion can be read by all??? DA!!!!!!
BeatWatchmaker More than 1 year ago
Lose the Hat.
george More than 1 year ago
You eastern folks sure take the cake, your like a dog on a bone. I watched J. Veiesques on Union Rags and he beat the lights out of Union Rags to barely get the nose in front of Paynter. J Velaquez must have been on drugs, no normal jockey on the west coast would such athing cause they would get set down by the stewards, they have alaw on the westcoast against this.
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful comment and attitude.
Darren Gusinow More than 1 year ago
Sousa: You may be spot on with your picks but you know nothing about O'neill or New York racing based on that post. To Imply that O'neill won the Derby and Preakness because he cheated and only scratched the horse because he would be caught cheating in NY is idiocy. You call into question the Vet (mind you not O'neill's personal vet) and his reputation as well as all others involved in the game. You are drinking too much of Pat Forde's idiot juice.