With trouble unfolding behind him, 43-1 shot I'll Have Another went on to
stunning upset in the Grade II, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes,
surprising his trainer and owner as much as the bettors.
The longest shot in the
field of eight 3-year-olds won by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday at Santa Anita, with
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's two colts finishing out of the money.
"Oh my God that
was nice," trainer Doug O'Neill said in the winner's circle, squeezing
owner Paul Reddam.
trained fantastic, but we never saw this coming," O'Neill said.
I'll Have Another ran
1 1/16 miles in 1:40.84 under Mario Gutierrez and paid $88.60, $35.80 and $12.
Empire Way, a son of 2003 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker, returned
$11.80 and $6.20.
aboard I'll Have Another for the first time after exercising him in the morning
"I love this
kid," O'Neill said.
I'll Have Another came
in off a five-month layoff and was running two turns for the first time. The
colt had sore shins after losing in the slop in the Grade I Hopeful at Saratoga in September,
leading to the layoff.
"He hasn't missed
a beat since then," O'Neill said.
I'll Have Another is
named for Reddam's response to his wife's nightly query of "Do you want
any more cookies?" as he lies on the couch. He paid $35,000 for the colt.
"I was probably
the only one who wanted to run here," Reddam said. "We didn't know
how good he was off his 2-year-old form."
"Paul likes putting up the money and taking chances."
Reddam demurred when
asked about taking a shot at the May 5 Kentucky Derby. He's had four previous Derby runners, including
two trained by O'Neill.
"We want to take
a lot of time until his next race," he said. "Everyone wants to be in
Kentucky, but so many things happen between
this race and Kentucky."
Liaison, the 3-2
favorite trained by Baffert, got squeezed in the stretch, clipping heels with
Groovin' Solo and causing his rider Rafael Bejarano to fall passing the eighth
pole. Bejarano was sore, but not injured. Baffert's other entry, 7-2 shot Sky Kingdom,
"This was a weird
run race," Baffert said. "(Liaison) was up there but he was a little
fresh. He got rank with him and then he was trying to get him to relax and get
back, but he just emptied out."
After a stewards'
inquiry, Groovin' Solo, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was disqualified from third
to last for getting in the way of Liaison and Rousing Sermon was moved up to
third. He paid $3.40 to show.
"I thought the
inside horse (Isn't He Clever) moved out," Espinoza said. "I tried to
help as much as I can. When another guy asks for help I move out as much as I
Isn't He Clever and
Corey Nakatani finished fifth after drifting out in midstretch.
Bejarano said he had
room between horses when making his move, then saw Groovin' Solo lugging in, so
he yelled to let Espinoza he was there.
"He tried to
correct his horse, but at the same time when he corrected his horse, he was
just coming in too much," Bejarano said. "The horse on the inside
(Isn't He Clever) didn't even give me a chance to check his horse because he
was coming out too. He just kept going and was coming out little by little, but
he didn't even try to check his horse. That's why it felt so tight and I
winning streak ended. He was coming off a win in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park
in December, a race in which Sky
Kingdom (another son of
Empire Maker) finished fourth and Empire Way fifth.