Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and … I’ll Have Another? Can a horse that has never been sent off as the favorite by the betting public be ready to join American racing’s most illustrious honor roll? Let’s take a look at some comparisons between I’ll Have Another and the holders of racing’s Holy Grail…
OK, so we know he’s never been favored, has this ever happened before to a Triple Crown winner?
No. Of the eleven Triple Crown winners, seven were favored in the Kentucky Derby, and all of them were favored in the Preakness.
On the bright side, I’ll Have Another enters the 2012 Belmont Stakes undefeated (4/4) in 2012. How many of the magnificent eleven can say that?
Six out of the eleven can. While Omaha, Whirlaway, Assault, Citation, and Secretariat all suffered defeats in their season of magic before the Belmont, Sir Barton, (3/3) Gallant Fox, (3/3) War Admiral, (4/4) Count Fleet, (4/4) Seattle Slew, (5/5) and Affirmed (5/5) all entered the Belmont Stakes perfect in their Triple Crown season.
Some say I’ll Have Another’s times aren’t up to snuff, but how do his 2:01 4/5 in the Derby and 1:55 4/5 stack up against those who’ve swept the crown?
Quite well actually; only Secretariat, Affirmed, and Whirlaway were able to run faster at Churchill Downs, while in the Preakness, only Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed were able to run a faster *1 3/16 miles.
Taking the time factor one step further, I’ll Have Another ran 1:47 4/5 in winning the Santa Anita Derby, his last race before the Run for the Roses. Have any of the Triple Crown winners run faster in their last prep before the Derby?
No. The closest was Affirmed who ran 1:48 1/5 while winning the Hollywood Derby.
Our 2012 hope finished second in a graded stake as a juvenile, but was not able to win a stakes race at two. Will this fact preclude him from completing the deal on June 9?
No, but only two (Sir Barton and Omaha) failed to win a stakes races at two. In I’ll Have Another’s defense, he ran in only three races as a juvenile, while the average number of two-year-old starts among the Crown champions, was 8.9 starts.
I’ll Have Another now sports a lifetime record of 5 wins in 7 starts. Are these numbers good enough to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years?
A winning perecentage of .714 puts I’ll Have Another ahead of six of the Triple Crown winners, with only Seattle Slew 100%, Citation .889, Affirmed .857, Secretariat .786, and Count Fleet .737 being better. Five lifetime wins meanwhile, would only place I’ll Have Another ahead of Sir Barton 3, and Omaha 4, while matching the five of Gallant Fox.
The popular son of Flower Alley has never raced at Belmont Park before; has this been common among the Triple Crown winners?
Unfortunately, no … Of the eleven horses to have swept the crown, all of them had at least one previous race at Belmont Park before The Test of a Champion.
It looks like he will face a larger Belmont field than any Triple Crown winner has faced; can he handle it?
Field size has not hurt him before ... Only War Admiral was part of a 20-horse Derby field, like I'll Have Another, and only Sir Barton had to deal with a larger Preakness field (12) than I'll Have Another's 11.
It’s been 34 years … isn’t racing due for a Triple Crown winner?
Yes! Previous gaps between Crown sweeps were: 11, 5, 2, 4, 2, 3, 2, 25, 4 and 1 year respectively … It is definitely time.
What does it all mean? Not much. I’ll Have Another knows not of all this history. All he knows is it is his job to get the wire first. Let’s hope he can do it on June 9!