As many of you know, this is the first year I am covering horse racing full-time. If you're not into reading sentimental stuff, then brace yourself for the next few paragraphs. I've been dreaming since May 5th that I would finally be able to see a Triple Crown Winner
in my lifetime.
I couldn't bare to watch The Preakness
in public because I was too excited of what the possibility of this horse could mean not only to me but the struggling horse industry. My ultimate goal and prospective of why I want to cover horse racing as a career is to bring the audience of horse racing to a new level and a spread it to a new age level. Anyway, like I was saying, I couldn't bare to watch the Preakness in public because I was nervous. Shouldn't Doug O'Neill
, Mr. Reddam
, and Mario Gutierrez
be the nervous ones? No. I was nervous because I knew if I'll Have Another won the Preakeness, the horse industry would see a completely new audience, one they have been striving for.
Fast forward to the beginning of this week - it is estimated over 120,000 people will attend the Belmont Stakes. Over 120,000 people would attend a sporting event in which some people said was dying. I was selfishly thinking this would be giving a big explicit sign to all the naysayers of the sport. This is what my ultimate goal of writing about this sport would be.
Yes, I'll Have Another
will just be the third horse to have an opportunity at winning the Triple Crown to not compete in the Belmont Stakes
due to injury and this is the best option FOR THE HORSE. Selfishly, we all have to remember that is the most important part about this sport. Would we have rather seen this happen or I'll Have Another possibly break down at the top of the stretch?
To say I am crushed by this news will not do it justice. Crushed, saddened, upset, mad, sick to my stomach all ring out as what I am feeling right now. But one other adjective describes this situation that I haven't mentioned, and that is thankful. I am so thankful for the opportunity the whole O'Neill stable was able to give the sport of horse racing with I'll Have Another. I am thankful for the opportunity to view this horse up close prior to the Kentucky Derby. I am so thankful that nothing catastrophic happened to I'll Have Another with this injury. Finally, I am so thankful that next year we will see a new crop of 3-year-olds that will be given the opportunity to try for the Triple Crown.