With trainer Doug O'Neill looking on, Kentucky Derby and
Preakness winner I'll Have Another
had another routine morning at Belmont Park, jogging four furlongs and galloping
seven furlongs over a wet main track under exercise rider Humberto Gomez as he
continued preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June
just skipped over [the track]," said O'Neill, speaking at his first daily press
briefing after arriving from California earlier in the morning. "He looked
great. The first couple of days we were at Pimlico the track had a light seal on
it, so he skipped over that as well. It didn't seem to bother him at
got such a beautiful way of going," he added. "He just kind of skips over the
ground anyway. The rider was happy with him, and we're real happy with him
just going in his stall and seeing him, knock wood, his legs are ice-cold, he
had cleaned up his feed tub he continues to amaze me the way he's handled all
this and continues to thrive."
O'Neill had not personally seen the chestnut colt since he departed
Pimlico one week ago as racing?s latest Triple Crown hopeful, looking to end the
34-year drought that has persisted since 1978, when Affirmed became the
11th and most recent horse to sweep the series.
have all the confidence in the world in I'll Have Another," he said. "As long as
he continues to stay injury-free and healthy, I think he's going to be very
O'Neill said that because I'll Have Another puts so much energy into his
daily gallops, he will most likely go into the 1 ½-mile Belmont without an
official timed work between the final two legs of the Triple Crown.
will be a lot of days when, strictly galloping, I'll Have Another will pass
workers," said O'Neill. "He gallops like an average horse works. I think the
amount of energy he puts into his gallops is the reason why an official workout
isnt important, in my mind."
remaining members of Team O'Neill would likely arrive in New York the week of
the Belmont, with owner J. Paul Reddam coming in either June 5 or 6 and jockey
Mario Gutierrez scheduled to come in on June 5.
O'Neill said the plan was for
the 25-year-old Gutierrez, who has never ridden in New
York, to have from 5-10 mounts at Belmont in order to become accustomed to the 1
½-mile track's unique dimensions.