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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Bada Bing Inc.

5 Reasons Why I'll Have Another wins the Belmont

I'll Win Another

By Tony Bada Bing


Lovers, haters, cynics or true-believers.


As we inch closer to the 2012 Belmont Stakes, fans, followers and betters fall into one of the four camps listed above. You’re either going all in for or against I’ll Have Another. Emotion rules in believing or betting against the twelfth Thoroughbred to enter the Belmont starting gate with the chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.


Maybe you’re high on horses coming from the West Coast. Maybe you hate I’ll Have Another’s trainer Doug O’Neill for his multiple drug violations. Maybe you cashed four consecutive times with I’ll Have Another starting at 43-1 in the Robert Lewis Stakes. Maybe you think I’ll Have Another has worked too hard, too long and will come up empty on June 9.


I don’t fall into any of the above descriptions. I have been a skeptic of I’ll Have Another, and as such I have doubted his greatness. In the Lewis Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, I thought he benefited from dream trips following fast fractions from horses that couldn’t hold up. In the Kentucky Derby I thought he found himself a dream trip as Gemologist veered hard to the left coming out of the 15-post leaving a nice pocket for jockey, Mario Gutierrez, coming out of the 19-hole - another dream trip following the very fast fractions of Bodemeister.


In the Preakness I thought I’ll Have Another would finally fall back to earth having to race outside his comfort zone while chasing closer than usual to Bodemeister’s lone speed. I was correct in envisioning I’ll Have Another’s wide trip, but was wrong about his ability to win with such adversity. Finally after I’ll Have Another jogged out after winning the second jewel of the Triple Crown, I no longer doubted, but began to believe that I’ll Have Another was benefiting from something more than racing luck.


Today I am here to tell you that I’ll Have Another will definitely win the Belmont Stakes, becoming just the 12th Triple Crown winner. Here are the five reasons why:


5. The second best horse and greatest competition is on the bench.


Bodemeister, coming off just four lifetime starts, but with tons of talent, would be sitting pretty on the eve of history if there were no I’ll Have Another. The Bob Baffert-trainee reeled off extremely fast fractions in the Derby and fell within the shadow of the Churchill wire of winning. In Maryland, he put up fast/reasonable fractions and befell the same fate. As it stands right now, he is the second-best three-year-old in training and he’s not running next week.


4. The Belmont competition is weak.


This has been the case before with wins by Da’Tara and Savara, long shots who finished in front of would-be champs, Big Brown and War Emblem. You could also argue that those Triple Crown hopefuls weren’t as strong, versatile or as well bred I’ll Have Another. In the 144th Belmont Stakes the chief rivals are Union Rags, a horse that always finds trouble; Dullahan, a zero-time winner on dirt; Paynter, a horse that qualifies for a non-winners of two allowance and Street Life, a listed stakes winner. Really that’s it. With competition like this I’m thinking all that Mario Gutierrez has to do is stay on I’ll Have Another’s back.


3. Breeding


On top and bottom, I’ll Have Another, has plenty of stamina to make the 12-furlong trip. His daddy, Flower Alley, won the 10-furlong Travers Stakes and finished second in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont Park. Flower Alley was sired by Distorted Humor whose leading earners include Kentucky Derby winner, Funny Cide and two-time Whitney winner, Commentator. I’ll Have Another’s dam sire, Arch, won the 10-furlong Super Derby at three and is the sire of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Blame. The distance is not a problem.


2. The jockey


Bill Russell, the 11-time NBA champion, was asked during his first NBA championship series, if he was experienced enough to win. His response was, “Experience means shit, you can either do the job or you can’t.” Mario Gutierrez has and will continue to do the job atop I’ll Have Another. His Preakness ride was the picture of patience. He also put his horse into a more forward position than usual while going wide all the way around the track. Then he timed the finish perfectly getting up in plenty of time with the finish line in sight. Patience + Confidence +  Well-Timed Ride = Win. He’ll do the same in the Belmont Stakes.


1. The trainer


Listen, I didn’t bet on I’ll Have Another in the Derby because of the far post, and I didn’t think Doug O’Neill could win much outside of his friendly Left Coast confines. I was also suspicious of his dozen or so drug-related violations. The problem with my “Doug O’Neill problem” is that it had nothing to do with I’ll Have Another’s success. Violations or not, O’Neill is a good horseman. He consistently wins a tick or two under 20 percent. He campaigned a former $50,000 claimer turned multimillionaire turned lead pony, Lava Man.


O’Neill has taken an unconventional and winning route to the edge of Triple Crown success. In an era of three, four and five-furlong maintenance works, O’Neill has worked his horse six furlongs to a mile in preparation and throughout his Triple Crown try. He turned his horse out after a disappointing stakes try at Saratoga last summer. He listened to his owner and gave the horse another stakes try in the Lewis off a six-month layoff. He stuck with an unknown jockey when a superstar like Garret Gomez was waiting in the wings for Derby mount.   


Let’s review - loyalty, listening and finding workouts to match his horse not the other way around. Aren’t these all admiral attributes in a horse trainer? I think so.


I’m giving you a Namath, an Ali. I’m guaranteeing a Belmont win, a week in advance. I’ve given you the reasons why. I’ll be there recording history for Horse Racing Nation. I also lay down my wagers and tweet the experience at @tonycbadabing. Around 7 pm, I plan on tweeting, “I told you so.”



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Older Comments about 5 Reasons Why I'll Have Another wins the Belmont ...

He wont beat Union Rags.
  • shredder · I like U R & think he will compete, we shall see about the win. I would like to see U R finish strong worst case scenario to silence some of his critics. · 1961 days ago
I for the most part agree with what tony said. After the S A win I considered I H A a good, but not great horse. Just b4 the derby I read an article with him as the longshot nobody is talking about. Then at the derby I just felt he took advantage of an opportunitty to win, sort of surprising bode. Then the preakness I wasn't sold he would win, BUT HMMM better watchout. After the preakness win Hart & the will to win is in this horse PERIOD. He had twice beaten several horses I had b4 him in my top 10. Great horse great story regardless what happens june 9th.
And I hope he wins by an unmeasurable lengths so that there is no doubt and so you can start tweeting before the finish. Tony, have a great time. but if my boy Dullahan ruins your party, don't be surprised. He does pose a threat, and mostly because IHA is used to gunning down a target in front and not fending off an adversary from behind. My gut felling is this will either be a very good race between these two or a blow out when IHA proves to all that he his special beyond the shadow of a doubt. Either way, these two finish one two. That is my only guarantee.
  • tony bada bing · The possible pace scenario is interesting, especially in a 12-furlong race. I also believe pace is overstated. As long as Mario allows IHA to run his race, he'll win. · 1962 days ago
  • El Kabong · Dullahan 4F in 45.97, galloped out in 58.91. This guy is more than ready for a big effort. · 1962 days ago
chiropractor? A pseudo science "invented" by a grocery store owner when he supposedly "cured" Mr Lillard, his janotor of deafness,,,,,Only problem is that the vestibular-choclear never NEVER extends down the spine!!!! clowns
Thanks for sharing...
Union Rags could win this race if the ambulance gives him a lift around the track.
I have, TV. Why did ROI win last year? He was close to the pace. IHA won't be far either. He has won on lead before.
IHA's worst race to date was in last year's Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. He came in 6th in the slop. THAT'S why I'm worried about rain.
cocoa: WATCH losts of races on wet tracks and what will you see OFTEN? The Clean Silks winner. Horses do not run weill into the rooster tails of other horses in front of them so front situatied horses win MORE than their share of races on wet tracks
IHA would benefit from rain, he'll be up in the pace and Dullahan will run ihm down if he can.
no horse ever won the kentucky derby from post #19 but that changed
I stopped making sporst guarentees after the 1984 Cubs beat the Padres 13-0 in the opening game of the NL playoffs, then lost the series. But I do believe IHA will win. I just hope for no rain.
Bada Bing, please share plenty of pictures and videos! I wish I could be there. Have an awesome time!
No Triple Crown winner has ever succeeded without having run a race at Belmont Park prior to the last leg.
I hope there is doubt in his wallet.
I hope these reasons and MORE are why I'll Have Another wins the Triple Crown next Saturday...
Reason #6- IHA has a super chiropractor ; ) I am with you, I hope the racing Gods are too...

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Tony Bada Bing began his lifelong quest of finding winners more than 35 years ago as a fifth grade student. This is when his grandfather first took him to the many Off Track Betting facilities sprinkled throughout Long Island, NY. While many kids his age were clamoring to hit the beach or an amusement park during summer vacation, Bada Bing was spending it in stuffy, smoked-filled rooms filled with retirees and reprobates listening to Marshall Cassidy on tape delay calling Saratoga.

This passion was further lit by his father, who took Bada Bing to East Boston's Suffolk Downs, only after Bada Bing learned to read the Racing Form. For most of his young adult life a summer rotation of NY OTB, Suffolk, and the now shuddered Rockingham Park in Salem, NH filled his betting days. 

Notable winners along the way: Willow Hour's and Runaway Groom's Travers wins as well as Derby winners Grindstone, Thunder Gulch (which he called in print the day before) and Super Saver. His latest quest is to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

Bada Bing plays tournaments at Derby Wars, bets through several account wagering sites and has blogged about Thoroughbred racing for the past four years. He prefers the bigger meets of NYRA and California as well as seasonal meets of Gulfstream, Churchill and Oaklawn. He likes vertical, multirace wagers like Pick 4s.

He has produced several Horse Racing Nation videos, in addition to blogging. He can be found at Twitter @tonycbadabing. While away from the track Bada Bing enjoys time with his wife, who tolerates and supports his passion, and his two children.


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