Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another’s move to
the Belmont Stakes barn will now take place Wednesday, trainer Doug
O’Neill said after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner had another
energetic gallop at Belmont Park this morning.
O’Neill had hoped to have I’ll Have Another transferred
from Mark Hennig’s barn, where he has been since May 20, into the
stakes barn well in advance of Wednesday’s noon deadline for all the
contenders in Saturday’s 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million
Belmont Stakes. O’Neill, who visited with newly arrived jockey Mario
Gutierrez this morning, said the switch would take place tomorrow so as
not to conflict with his schedule.
“We have a luncheon today [in Manhattan], and I want to
be here for that,” said O’Neill of the move. “As of earlier, they
weren’t ready anyways, so now it looks like tomorrow, after he trains,
he’ll cool out over there. We’ll move tomorrow.”
The trainer added that I’ll Have Another’s stable pony,
Lava Man, would not be joining him in the stakes barn as had been
“He’s not going to go,” said O’Neill of Lava Man. “I went
over there yesterday and I just think it will be nerve-wracking for
him. So we’ll leave him here. He’ll still chaperone [I’ll Have Another]
every morning. I’ll Have Another is such a relaxed, cool horse, I
worry that Lava Man will get a little anxious and that I’ll Have
Another will worry what his big brother is all anxious about. We’ll
leave Lava here, he’s settled in nicely here, and we’ll just move I’ll
O’Neill said the late change in schedule was not a concern.
“Everything is good,” he said. “The horse is doing great,
so we’re all doing good, ready to go. I thought he galloped great this
morning, looked good, good stride, good energy. Three more days of
galloping and if we get lucky, ooo-fah!”
The trainer said that I’ll Have Another would stay in the
barn and walk the shedrow the morning of the Belmont Stakes, in which
he is bidding to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since
Affirmed in 1978.
“He actually galloped the morning of the Bob Lewis and
the morning of the Santa Anita Derby, but he didn’t in the Kentucky
Derby or the Preakness, so we’ll maintain,” he said.
O’Neill added that he planned on wearing his “lucky tie” for Saturday’s race.
“It’s a blue tie with some shamrocks on it that I’ll be
cracking out,” he said. “It’s two-for-two. Actually, it’s
three-for-three. Can’t change now.”