05/20/2012 8:13AM

Preakness 2012: I'll Have Another wastes no time heading to New York for Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
I'll Have Another, with trainer Doug O'Neill, left Pimlico on Sunday morning to get familiar with his new surroundings in New York for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

BALTIMORE – I’ll Have Another is bound for the bright lights of Broadway. He pulled out of Pimlico Racecourse on Sunday morning, headed to Belmont Park in New York, where on June 9 he will attempt to become the 12th winner of the Triple Crown, and the first since Affirmed in 1978.

The morning after his victory on Saturday in the Preakness Stakes, I’ll Have Another – who won the Kentucky Derby on May 5 – looked none the worse for the effort. When he was brought out for a bath at 7 a.m. Sunday here at Pimlico, he did not have one nick on him, his chestnut coat shined, and trainer Doug O’Neill reported that he “emptied his feed tub.”

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Replay, chart, complete postrace coverage]

“He’s full of energy,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill will be starting his first horse in the Belmont Stakes. He is doing the same thing to prepare I’ll Have Another for the Belmont as he did for the Preakness. I’ll Have Another, owned by Paul Reddam, arrived at Pimlico soon after the Derby because O’Neill wanted him to get used to the track.

“Getting here, getting settled in, was huge,” he said.

O’Neill said he wants Mario Gutierrez, the jockey who has given I’ll Have Another four flawless rides this year, to arrive early in New York to get a feel for Belmont Park, where he has never ridden.

“Staying injury-free and healthy, and getting Mario used to the track,” O’Neill cited as his primary objectives over the next three weeks.

As for I’ll Have Another handling the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont, O’Neill said, “Horses can get it or they can’t.”

“It gives us a lot of confidence, the way he galloped out both in the Derby and yesterday,” O’Neill said.

Bodemeister, who finished second in the Derby and the Preakness, will not go to the Belmont. He flew back to trainer Bob Baffert’s base in California on Sunday.

The only other Preakness runner who remains a possible Belmont starter is Optimizer, who finished sixth.

Paynter, who won an allowance race for Baffert on the Pimlico undercard Saturday, will run in the Belmont. He was sent by van to New York on Sunday morning. Like Bodemeister, he is owned by Ahmed Zayat.

As of Sunday, a field of 13 was likely for the Belmont. In addition to I’ll Have Another, Optimizer, and Paynter, the field could include Alpha, Atigun, Dullahan, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Mark Valeski, Rousing Sermon, Stealcase, Street Life, and Union Rags.

--additional reporting by David Grening



jg777 More than 1 year ago
It's a shame that I'll Have Another, even if he wins the Belmont, won't be idolized as he should be. If this were Bodemeister or Union Rags going for racing immortality, the posts would be littered with the same people proclaiming them unbeatable and comparing them to the all time greats. I'll say this about Union Rags - I will be interested to see the excuses when he misses the board again in the Belmont. 1 1/4 was pushing it for him, 1 1/2 is impossible. Dixie Union has never sires a stakes winner at 1 1/8th or longer. I guess I really don't understand the obsession with this colt. He peaked early as a 2 year old and couldn't win the Juvenile, came back at 3 and showed no improvement whatsoever. He'll be finished after a mile on June 9th at short odds. Bodemeister, while a fast horse, is at this point in his career one dimensional. Go to the lead and see how far you can take em. Yet if there was no I'll Have Another, people would be going absolutely crazy about his TC prospect. I'll Have Another is the real deal. He has won on the lead, pressing the pace, stalking the pace, and coming off the pace. He can sit almost anywhere in a race and go when his jock gives him the cue. He runs smoothly and determinedly, and when it's time to battle he has the heart of a champion. He has now outfinished both Bodemeister and Creative Cause in a battle in the final 1/16th, probably the 2nd and 3rd best 3 year olds at this point in time. I hope all the "wise guys" crank up Union Rags and Dullahan just like Bode and WTDW in the Preakness. 3-1 on the Derby winner was laughable, and while that won't happen again, 8/5 will have me laughing all the way to the bank........
John Kern More than 1 year ago
I can't disagree concerning Union Rags apparent pedigree limitations. Simple fact, in both losses this year he was buried inside. Once he got outside he dropped his head leveled off and looked like a different horse. The rider change is key as well. I can remember a colt in 1976 who wasn't suppose to get the distance as well, I believe his name was Bold Forbes. So much for pedigree limitations.........
Charlie No-nothin' More than 1 year ago
Bodemeister banged out furlongs in eleven and change, and slowed in late stretch by only a few fifths a furlong, which makes IHA's win even more impressive than in the Derby. A 37,000 dollar purchase wins the triple crown? I think we're looking at another Seattle Slew.
ronald menard More than 1 year ago
i hope the NYRA is watching Doug O; neill hesw crooked as a barrel of snakes!
T Cs More than 1 year ago
I hope the NYRA is watching the NYRA
john jenkinson More than 1 year ago
I would say only the improving Paynter or the revitilized Mark Valeski can challenge IHA for his bid to win thr TC. Rags will take a ton of money but he is not bred for this and just has never run fast enough. Dullahan is a deep closer who doesn't fit the profile. The Wood came back so weakly that it is hard to like Alpha. Stealcase and Street Life has never been competitive against this type. Maybe Rousing Sermon who was good last year. He showed some improvement in the KD. If you can get 8/5 on IHA in the Belmont....load up!
Hawksian More than 1 year ago
I didn't really understand having UR skip the Preakness to run in the Belmont. I agree, I don't see how UR gets the mile and a half.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Many winners of the Champagne had run well in the Belmont Stakes. This renewal again appears to have very little pace. Judging from the way he finished in the Kentucky Derby and looking at the competition, Union Rags should finish in the top 4 and definitely ahead of Dullahan - whose pedigree screams 9f just like Union Rags but he is not as good as Union Rags on dirt. In fact, Dullahan is a very iffy bet at low odds because he may not be a dirt horse at all. All 4 of his dirt starts were at Churchill which is known to be friendly to turf and synthetic horses, Dullahan did not train well at Saratoga last year and could very well bomb in the Belmont Stakes. Union Rags is a great bet in the Belmont. A WPS bet will at least break even, and an exacta box with I'll Have Another. He also has the highest potential for improvement. He recorded a 95 beyer winning the Fountain of Youth wrapped up about 3.5 months ago from June 9, and assuming that he did not get to run in the Florida and Kentucky Derby, Union Rags is the only horse in the race who could pop a 110 beyer which is probably what it will take to beat I'll Have Another. I am true believer in the Derby and Preakness winner, but Union Rags might well be a value play together with an exacta box.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Welcome to New York, Mario. This should be quite a change for you. Nothing like the Big Apple.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
I will SHUT - UP now ! I will be back in two weeks though hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa . Not that any-one would care . Hey Jay , im leaving Florida Keys in the morning : will be arriving in Elmont , NY by Friday morning . Hope to see ya around . I will be there thru-out till after the Belmont Stakes . Jay , talk Kenny Mayne into bringing his golf clubs will ya . BELMONT STAKES * O'Neill Racing Stables * Great Job
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Jay Privman : SAY , is it really true that DULLAHAN will be riden by Javier Castellano and UNION RAGS will be riden by John Velazquez ! Wowwwwwww talking about pulling a rabbit out of a hat . I dont second guess Brette ! If that is his call , then YA got to respect his call : because NO-ONE knows UNION RAGS better than Brette ! Jay : I see that Sports-Writters are saying that PIMLICO and BELMONT are very Simular - Scenario IF a ( Trainer / Jockey ) has never been there ! What are these writters smoking Jay . BELMONT Stakes in my opinion is the Grand Daddy of the Triple Crown . The Kentucky Derby is actually ( LUCK ) but as being Lucky , Most of the Time you have to be Good as well . The BELMONT Stakes is where ( CHAMPIONS are made in Breeding ) . Many people will always say , Its the Kentucky Derby - but be honest to your-self IF YOU was a horse buyer . Would you want a colt that won the Derby but yet got smoked in the Belmont Stakes - or - Would you want a colt that got smoked in the Derby but yet won the Belmont Stakes ! In My Opinion , NO-ONE really cares about whom won the Preakness when it comes to Breeding . MANY GREAT COLTS have went down in Defeat in the Belmont Stakes ( ITS SO DEMANDING ) nothing like the Preakness . Wake Up Sports-Writters .......................... I will asure you of one thing - O'Neill will do one of the Best jobs you will ever see by a Trainer by keeping things Simple " YET " Knowing where CHAMPIONS have lost it ! O;Neill will not take the Belmont Stakes lightly . The connections have already been well pre-paired for this - I Myself , I just didnt believe in Ill Have Another till after the Derby . I have been on the UNION RAGS band-wagon , ever since the Champagne Stakes as a 2yr old at Belmont . THIS HAPPENS TO BE A HUGE ADVANTAGE when it comes time . Being well rested will be a Major Pluss . There will be MANY Non-Belivers . Which is F - A - N - T - A - S - T - I - C by me because ( IF ) UNION RAGS is sound and fit loading into the Starting gate , THATS ALL IM ASKING FOR . I never have been into this Triple Crown Thing ( ONLY IF ) the colt that I like has that chance going into the Belmont . Not a Bad thing at all being the Under-dog ! I hope to get odss ( 5 - 1 ) on UNION RAGS ! As it looks at this point in time , ( Ill Have Another - Dullahan - Union Rags ) ! Well Dahhhhhh huh . So much can go wrong between now and then as we all have seen from the past . The likes of WENT THE DAY WELL in the Preakness . I still dont have a clue as in WHY they would IGNORE WARNING SIGNS !
derpudel More than 1 year ago
Regardless of who is on the lead in the last 2 furlongs, it won't be IHA. Given what I've seen of his closing stride and speed, I don't think it matters who is ahead of him or behind him in the stretch. The question will be, can he extend that kick for that extra distance, or will he hit the wall? In that case, if any other closer is near, he could lose to his maxing out his speed and get beat by a nose bob. I'd hate to see that happen. I'd almost rather see him lose by several lengths.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
RANDY MOSS / MIKE WATCHMAKER did one of the Best videos reguarding a Triple Crown race than I have viewed in a long time . A fabulous job by RANDY MOSS . Very well put . With True Honesty . I liked the FLIP-FLOP . I did the flip-flop , but with Creative Cause and Ill Have Another . I truly thought Baffert was going to send Bodemeister out on another shocking fast pace , opening up a big lead , play Catch Me ! I got to admit : I have to give JUST AS MUCH credit for Bodemeister as I do for Ill Have Another , even though Bodemeister will not be going onto the Belmont Stakes . Creative Cause , I have to agree with many - has been one of the Best in the West - But - needs a very deserving rest . GOOD JOB RANDY MOSS , FOR VIDEO
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Jay Priman : good job ya did at Reporting the Derby / Preakness . I went fishing in the Keys during the Preakness week-end - but will see you and Kenny Mayne in Elmont soon . Hope everything goes well between now and then for these 13 colts . I will be paying alot of Attention towards UNION RAGS : which you already know that huh ! I pray that ILL HAVE ANOTHER stays normal , stays sound , stays fit for the Belmont Stakes . Good to know O'Neill already has this colt track-side at Belmont . O'Neill is enjoying every single minute of this journey - well deserved ! I wish their connections all the best . The Belmont Stakes is " NO PLACE LIKE HOME " Unless your colt has already raced over the course . So they do need to be worried !