It’s hard to believe that it has been only a few weeks since I wrote that I was more excited about I’ll Have Another’s quest for the Triple Crown than any such attempt since Sunday Silence in 1989. So much has happened since then.
Armed only with a strong rooting interest for the little chestnut to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, and a lifelong love for thoroughbred racing, I made the drive from Chicago to New York with the hopes of seeing history. Within twelve hours of my arrival, word came in that I’ll Have Another would not even get the chance to run for it. He was scratched after being diagnosed with early stages of tendinitis. It was a major disappointment that only became worse soon after, when I learned that he would also be retired. The last time I felt disappointment like this at Belmont Park was when Easy Goer swooshed by Sunday Silence 23 years earlier. Little did I know that the unhappy similarities to one of my all-time favorites would keep rolling in.
As reported this afternoon by Steve Anderson of DRF, I’ll Have Another has been sold by Paul Reddam to Shigeyuki Okada to stand stud at his Big Red Farm in Japan. I knew this outcome was a real possibility, but when the news hit, it still felt like a swift kick to the face.
I cannot blame Reddam, he made the business decision he felt like he needed to make, but still the whole thing makes me just a little sick.
Perhaps I am taking this hard because of Sunday Silence. The great Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner was largely rejected by American breeders back then, and just look what happened. Sunday Silence is far and away the dominant sire in the history of Japanese Racing. His offspring have earned more on the track than any other sire worldwide. In short, he was a fantastic sire who would have added so much to American bloodlines.
I have no idea how successful I’ll Have Another will be at stud, although on the track he demonstrated both brilliance and courage, and in his immediate pedigree he counts Distorted Humor and Arch (the sires of the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Classic) as his grandsire and broodmare sire. Distance and class versus speed and precocity, clearly American breeders have spoken once again. It’s a shame.
Why is that I suddenly have a strong feeling that I’ll Have Another will prove to be a big success at stud?