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Team O'Neill Hopes for Another Derby Ride

When Dennis O’Neill last encamped at Santa Anita, it was three weeks before the Kentucky Derby. At that time, Dennis, brother of trainer Doug O’Neill, had wittingly or “un” suggested that I’ll Have Another had as much chance as the next horse to win the Run for the Roses, which he ultimately did. He would go on to capture not only the Preakness but the hearts of America in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

An 11th-hour tendon injury dashed those aspirations under a pall of disappointment, and I’ll Have Another, who registered an upset in the Santa Anita Derby before doing it again in the Kentucky Derby, was retired to stud in Japan.

Dennis sounded like the Nostradamus of racing in a pre-Kentucky Derby interview that ran in Santa Anita’s stable notes last April 21: “The thing I like best about him (I’ll Have Another) is he has tactical speed. He makes his own trip. He’s not a horse that’s going to sit back and have to weave his way through. He’s not a horse that has to be on the lead.

“He just needs to break and settle right in behind. He really is a classic type of horse in the sense that he’s going to make his own trip and if he’s good enough, he’s going to win.”

Team O’Neill’s wild ride with I’ll Have Another is now indelibly etched in racing lore, but hopes of another dream come true rest on the shoulders of their promising two-year-olds.

“When you look back, you try to be optimistic that we won the Derby and the Preakness, which is pretty incredible,” Dennis reflected. “But on the pessimistic side, we were 4-5 to win the Triple Crown, so that’s tough to swallow.

“But it was an incredible run, an incredible run. I’ll Have Another has a great home. We see videos of him every week and we’re planning to see him next year in Japan, and we’ll try to do it all over again. That’s what it’s all about.

“We’re excited about Know More, who runs in the FrontRunner (formerly the Norfolk) at Santa Anita a week from Saturday, and Goldencents, who runs in the Champagne (Grade I, $400,000 at Belmont Park on Oct. 6). Horses with that kind of promise keep you going.”

Know More is owned by J. Paul Reddam, who owned I’ll Have Another. Garrett Gomez has the mount in the FrontRunner. The bay colt won the Grade II Best Pal at Del Mar in his first start. Kevin Krigger is back on Goldencents in the Champagne.

A Daily Racing Form story has Know More at 60-1 in the first Kentucky Derby futures wagering posted by John Avello, director of the race and sports book at the Wynn Las Vegas.



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Older Comments about Team O'Neill Hopes for Another Derby Ride...

I hope he does but we will have to see how they all do as three year olds
I think Know More will run in the derby and win it.
If he doesn't win the derby or preakness i can see him winning the belmont he has some nice stamina in his pedigree
I am not sure about Know More yet. Love Lion Heart, dam sire is Seattle Slew, so he has a nice pedigree. Del Mar is a very lucrative prep for dirt competition (i.e. Bluegrass @ Keeneland) and winning the Derby back to back is a nice thought, but easier said than done- talk is CHEAP. From here to the run for the roses anything can happen. I really admire the guy though.
Hope his pony comes in safe and sound and dead last. Maybe he won't be exhiled to Japan.

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