The Triple Crown is a big, big deal. I’m definitely not the biggest horse racing fan out there, and even I know how huge it is for a horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes and secure a Triple Crown under its belt. I also know that the feat has not been achieved in 34 years, and that Thoroughbred I’ll Have Another could have secured it this year. He won’t get the chance to try, as he has been scratched from the Belmont Stakes just the day before. His trainer Doug O’Neill said that the horse is showing signs of tendonitis and might actually need to be retired. Richard Rosenblatt of the Associated Press reported,
“I’ll Have Another’s bid for the first Triple Crown in 34 years ended shockingly in the barn and not on the racetrack Friday when the colt was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes and retired with a swollen tendon.
“It’s been an incredible ride, an incredible run,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “It’s a bummer. It’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment.”
I’ll Have Another, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with stirring stretch drives, was the 4-5 favorite to win the Belmont and become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since 1978.
Instead, he becomes the 12th horse since Affirmed, the last Triple champion, to win the first two legs but not the Belmont.
The scratch marks the first time since Bold Venture in 1936 that the Derby and Preakness winner didn’t run in the Belmont. Burgoo King skipped the race in 1932.”
It seems that many people are wary of O’Neill’s decision to pull I’ll Have Another from tomorrow’s race, but I think that it’s a wise decision that shows he’s keeping the horse’s best interest in mind. It’s disappointing that he will not have a shot at being the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, but it would be downright tragic if he won it at a horrible expense.