Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

I’ll Have Another’s Preakness was the real deal

Picture if you will this year’s Arkansas Derby. A loose on the lead Bodemeister looks stronger with every pole he passes. By the time the field hits the lane, it was only a matter of by how much the powerful son of Empire Maker would win. Three, five, seven … Bodemeister won by as much as he wanted. It was the breakout performance that showed the world what kind of talent he is, and it also earned him favoritism in the Derby. 
Now do the same for the Preakness, only take I’ll Have Another out of the equation.  You know what? It’s exactly the same. Bodemeister does all the early running, and when either Secret Circle or Creative Cause makes their presence known on the far turn, Bodemeister shrugs them off with disdainful ease. Creative Cause, taking the role of the Oaklawn Secret Circle, has little trouble holding the rest of the field at bay, but loses ground every step of the stretch to the overpowering winner. Bodemeister wins by nine … again. But of course, that’s not how it went down, I’ll Have Another was very much part of that Preakness field.
It’s hard to believe it has only been eight days since the 2012 Preakness. I consider it the best race I’ve seen since the Blame-Zenyatta epic of 2010, and it has been on my mind every day since. I’ve tried to let the excitement of what I saw die down a little in my mind before I talked about the effort of I’ll Have Another. I’ve waited long enough. 
What this young chestnut colt accomplished in the Preakness was special. Whether or not you agree with me that Bodemeister is a bit of a freak, and whether or not you feel that this is the best group of sophomores we’ve seen in America since 2007, as I do, you must give credit where credit is due. 
The toughest thing is racing to do is run down a good speed horse when they have no reason to be coming back to the pack, and what’s more, do it all on your own. It would have been one thing if two or three of the horses came running, and I’ll Have Another proved best of the bunch, but that was not the case in racing’s Middle Jewel. Mario Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another had every right to edge by Creative Cause, while saying no mas to the speed, power, and race set-up for Bodemeister, thereby ending any thoughts of a Triple Crown winner. I mean that is really what should have happened.
Any thought of a Bodemeister bounce after his big performances in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby were quickly thrown out the window, as he broke on top and carved out moderate fractions with little to no pressure. He was running strong and free. To the experienced eye, it looked like it could be an early game, set, and match. And from there, the Baffert runner did everything his supporters could have possibly hoped for, but for one brave horse that made it simply not good enough.
109 Beyer, negative 2 on the Thoro-Graph sheets, no matter how you slice it, the Preakness performance was huge. I thought it was the best performance in a Triple Crown race in several years. It was far more impressive than his win in the Derby. But the numbers don’t matter, nor do my words, just watch the Preakness one more time. Watch it while pretending I’ll Have Another is not in the race. Bodemeister’s performance would be talked about in the most glowing terms.
Then place yourself in the mind and the heart of I’ll Have Another, as you take off from the rest of the pack, and you give every ounce of talent, strength, and oxygen you can muster to run down a horse that should not have lost. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.


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Older Comments about I’ll Have Another’s Preakness was the real deal...

Thank you Brian for your putting things into perspective. Goosebumps, me too!!
even though brian is absolutely right, i was hoping the positive comments would have stopped by now. cmon urags and dullahan supporters speak out. need IHA to go off at 3/1.
Wow, xlnt article! so glad someone feels the same way as I do about this Mighty little horse. I too thought it one of the best races I've seen in many years. I watch it over & over also. I too still get goosebumps! GO IHA!
Joel Rosario ruined any chance Went The Day Well had by squeezing him out on Creative Cause. Not Sure how Gary thinks what he did at that point is worth applauding. IHA NEXT TRIPLE CROWN WINNER!!! GO MR.REDDAM, MARIO, and IHA....CANADA HAS YOUR BACK!
Great commentary Brian! I watch my DVR replay quite a bit, and I always get such a kick out of the fact that I enjoy watching it so much. I feel like I a newbie, not a fan/player/mutuel clerk who has numbly stared at a simulcast signal for over 25 years. I have not felt this way about a 3yo in a long time. Often enough a horse will get you excited, and regardless of how good they are, you just don't get attached. Not the case for me with I'll Have Another. I just want to wrap my arms around this colt, win or lose, and pepper him with hugs and kisses! It is so satisfying to see him run as he turns for home, legs flipping forward, ears pricked every which way, looking everywhere, but mostly ahead, and almost greenly, he runs the horse(s) in front of him down. And as you said, he just does it, not because the race set up for him that way. He is special. I am really looking forward to watching this horse grow. An expose in a few years as he romps in his paddock will find him to be a jaw dropping specimen of the perfect horse.
I couldn't agree more Brian! He is all heart! By far the most fabulous Preakness I have seen. Words can't begin to describe how amazing he is but you did it poetically.
Two very good horses put it all out there for two very good races. 2012 has been quite a treat to racing fans so far, and with the Met Mile and Awesome Maria on Memorial Day and the Belmont looming. Very Good Stuff!!!
Poetic, Brian. Watching that replay, it just made glad that someone had the talent to put all that I was thinking into words. I couldn't agree with you more. If I'll Have Another goes on to win the Belmont I think we can all say he certainly had to earn it every step of the way.
Brian,, you brought tears to my eyes. This is what I've been feeling. This was not just "another Preakness". I thought I'll Have Another lost it before the turn. He was too far back, behind a monster who had it his own way. Bodemeister would not be coming back, and I could not believe my eyes when I saw I'll Have Another cut into that lead. It was inexcorable, but I still didn't think he'd get there until the last two jumps. It was the most amazing Preakness I've seen since Secretariat's.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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