With Belmont Park’s vast oval practically to himself, Triple Crown
hopeful I’ll Have Another had his customary 1 ½-mile jog and gallop
Friday morning as trainer Doug O’Neill continued to express pleasure
with the way the colt is coming into the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont
Stakes on June 9.
Along with several other contenders for the 1 ½-mile
“Test of the Champion,” I’ll Have Another went to the track at 8:30
a.m. during a special 15-minute slot reserved for Belmont Stakes
hopefuls. Coming on shortly thereafter Paynter, Atigun, Unstoppable U, Five Sixteen and Guyana Star Dweeb, followed by Dullahan and Street Life.
“He went great,” said trainer Doug O’Neill of the Kentucky Derby and
Preakness winner, who is bidding to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown
winner and first in 34 years. “I’ll Have Another ate up everything last
night, his legs are looking great and he’s got great energy. I loved
the way he trained out there. He’s maintained his beautiful stride.”
O’Neill said he was delighted to have a portion of the
morning set aside for Belmont candidates, a decision which was promoted
when a loose horse came close to colliding with I’ll Have Another on
“Awesome,” he said. “That was so cool. We got a chance to
see a couple of the other Belmont hopefuls as well. They looked great
out there. It was a great experience and I really appreciate Mr.
[P.J.] Campo and the rest of The New York Racing [Association] people
for letting us have 15 minutes of safe environment.”
O’Neill added that after speaking with the stewards, he
hopes to be able to move I’ll Have Another and his stable pony, Lava
Man, into the Belmont Stakes barn Monday after training. All Belmont
Stakes contenders are required to be in the barn by noon on Wednesday.
“They’re letting us have Lava Man there, which is great,”
said O’Neill. “The [horses] are used to being with their buddies. To
be in a barn all by yourself … even though he could handle it, but to
have Lava Man in there, that will be cool. That’s his little buddy.”