Owner J. Paul Reddam and jockey Mario
Gutierrez were on hand at Belmont
Park Thursday morning as
Triple Crown candidate I’ll Have
Another galloped around the 1 ½-mile oval, with the only difference
in his routine being that he departed the Belmont Stakes barn for the first time.
All the contenders for Saturday’s
Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, in which I’ll Have Another is
attempting to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 34 years,
spent the night in the special barn, where they will be housed until the 1
“He settled right in like we
thought he would,” reported trainer Doug O’Neill. “He had a
really good day of training today. He had really good energy and he cooled out
really well, so we’re very happy with where we are two days out.”
Reddam, who purchased I’ll Have
Another as a 2-year-old for $35,000, recalled watching and wagering on the
Belmont as several horses attempted to accomplish what no thoroughbred has done
since Affirmed in 1978.
“I bet against War Emblem, but I bet
Medaglia d’Oro, so I lost anyway,” he said. “I bet against
Funny Cide, because we had a horse in there – Ten Most Wanted – I
hit the exacta although we ran second. Big Brown I did not bet against because
I thought he was a cinch. That’s what scares me about the race on Saturday,
because a lot of things can go wrong, as Big Brown illustrated.
“Smarty Jones, I was really rooting
for Smarty Jones. With three-eighths of a mile to go, it looked like it was
happening. Certainly Tom Durkin thought it was happening. But the race is a mile
and a half, it’s not a mile and a quarter, and a sixteenth, or an eighth,
or three-sixteenths, right?”
Reddam recalled indulging in a bit of
wishful thinking the morning of the 2008 Belmont.
“The morning that Big Brown is
going to run, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, Big Brown is going to win the
Triple Crown. Why is this happening? Why can’t it just wait for
us?’ But that was kind of a joking thought. And here we are. I
didn’t wish ill on Big Brown, by any means, but it’s quite a long
shot that we’re actually here.”
The plans to have O’Neill, Reddam,
and Gutierrez throw out the first pitch for Friday’s New York Mets-New
York Yankees game at Yankee Stadium have been canceled as the tandem will have
Boxeur des Rues competing in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at 5:44 p.m.