I’ll Have Another will not become the 12th Triple Crown winner. The three-year-old colt was scratched from today’s Belmont Stakes when his trainer Doug O’Neill discovered a swollen tendon in his left front leg. The horse could have raced, O’Neill said, but it would have been to his detriment and so he was promptly retired from the sport. I’ll Have Another will lead the post parade this afternoon before returning to Southern California tomorrow or Monday.
Race horses cost anywhere from $200,000 to a few million dollars. Owner J. Paul Reddam purchased I’ll Have Another last year for $35,000, a relative bargain. Although the pony may not have had a big-name pedigree, he came from horses that were not only speedy, but had great stamina, a trait that would have served him well in the mile-and-a-half-long Belmont. Furthermore, the horse bore a striking resemblance to Seabiscuit (another West Coast horse who inspired a nation and went into retirement with a left front leg injury…before making a big comeback) ; he had a big heart and hated to lose.
One wonders what might have been. And one hopes that history does not forget this horse and its surrounding cast of characters. People love underdogs. In February of this year, I’ll Have Another was an unknown horse with a no-name jockey that won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes with 43-1 odds. Within months of that victory, he became a rock star. In honor of I’ll Have Another, here are some odds and ends about him, Seabiscuit and horse racing in general: