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.