When Dennis O’Neill last encamped at Santa Anita, it was three weeks
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
“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.