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HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Here is to Hoping

He started his season in the Robert B. Lewis, a 40-1 shot that drilled his competition by over 6 lengths in a scorching time of 1.40.84 for the one mile and a sixteenth distance. He waited seven weeks before he took on grade one winner Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby. He vanquished that foe in a hard fought stretch due, and still as he entered the gates of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at double digit odds, despite running some of the fastest race of his generation, being a grade one winner, and to that point, unbeaten in 2012. He overcame the 19 post, a post no horse had ever managed to win the Kentucky Derby from, to run down Bob Baffert’s speedy, talented, Bodemeister. Even after such a performance, I’ll Have Another remained the most overlooked horse going into the 2012 Preakness.
Personally, I believed the colt should have never been let go at such long odds in his 3 year old bow or the Derby. In the Robert B. Lewis, his only bad race to date had been in the slop, and while he was coming off a layoff, there were others in the field that had far less experience than he. I did believe that in the Kentucky Derby he would bounce, but he didn’t. After the race I believe him to be a very nice colt, but still felt that he was the beneficiary of a perfect trip and pace set up, and that Bodemeister would have his revenge in the Preakness. Apparently most others had the same school of thought and Bodemeister was made the Preakness favorite, over I’ll Have Another. It would turn out that my school of thought was wrong.
Bodemeister got the lead and pace that I expected. He proved tough as nails through the stretch, as I expected. And for a good portion of the stretch, it looked to be that my expectations, that Bodemeister would prove the better, were also going to be correct. But in the final yards I’ll Have Another looked Bodemeister in the eye and found a gear I didn’t believe he had. He found a gear that gave him that last thrust to nail Bodemeister by a neck, to become the first horse since 2008 to roll into the 2012 Belmont Stakes with hopes of a Triple Crown on his shoulders.
I do not see how I’ll Have Another can possibly be underrated now. Tacticle, fast, stamina, heart….he has proven to have it all. He is not flashy, but then again, why does he need to be when what he is doing is working wonders. However, I still have a feeling that he will still get overlooked when it comes time for the Belmont. With the likes of Dullahan and Union Rags coming to the Belmont, both fresher horses than I’ll Have Another. Both having flashier wins. Knowing this, I wouldn’t put it past the crowd to hand them the edge instead of the Derby/Preakness winner.
The Belmont is the most elusive jewel of the Triple Crown. Several horses that have captured the first two jewels have been found wanting after those sweeping turns and that long 12 furlong trip. I’ll Have Another, unlike others in the past, has the goods to get it done. Unlike Smarty Jones he has the breeding to go long. Unlike Big Brown his trainer has not angered the racing gods and he has proven to be a sound, strong, sturdy colt. The only thing standing in his way are the likes of a fresh Union Rags and Dullahan, both of whom will relish Belmont’s sweeping turns and be hard to stop with clear trips. They will also benefit from the five weeks of rest as opposed to I'll Have Another's three, with not one but two grueling races prior.
This is one of the most elite crops of three year olds since 2007. It’s depth of overall talent is astounding, and with that fact in mind, I'll Have Another's task of sweeping the Triple Crown is far from a sure thing. One thing that is for sure, is that if I’ll Have Another does not get the respect he deserves going into the 2012 Belmont, should he win, taking the Triple Crown, he should go down as one of the most respected Triple Crown winners in the history of the series. Here is to hoping that I’ll Have Another can end the drought. Here is to hoping I’ll Have Another takes the Triple Crown.


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Older Comments about Here is to Hoping...

I think its pretty cool that he's never been favored in any of his races, but yet he's going for the triple crown.
I have respect for all the horses in the world. Think they are the greatest animal on this earth. I respect I'll Have Another although my pick was Bode. I do hope that we have a triple crown winner and expect that we will. He has the speed and the stimula to do it. This has been in the making for a very long time and I am looking so forwarded in seeing history being made again. Good Luch I'll Have Another in you races and becoming the new Triple Crown Winner.
Just hope it's not the boo fest it was for Big Brown. Because Dutrow was the trainer, many were pleased when he came in last. O'Neill is a notch above Dutrow, although with all the breakdowns of his horses and all the Milkshake accusations, there will be at least a few rooting against him. As for the horse, only Dullahan should stand in his way, unless Mark Valeski can go that far.
Can't help but root for him now. He has one heck of a shot. I hope that 7 weeks off he had before the SA Derby helps him stay fresh enough for the Belmont.
I'll have another!! Come on now...
Yes, one more please.
The sport need a hero and a horse with a good story the public an identify with. IHA is that type of horse, as is Bode and UR, and many others. I really hope IHA and Bode continue their rivalry. Both very good horses with good stories that people can get behind.
It sure would be great for the sport and bring in some well needed new racing fans.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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