Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Triple Crown Fever – I’ll Have Another

“No kidding around ... I have not had a case of Triple Crown Fever this bad since 1989.”  

Not hyperbole, but rather a sincere statement I made yesterday on Facebook and Twitter. More than a hundred comments later, I realize that the power of the Triple Crown is profound. Whether those who commented on my statement agreed with me or not, and there were plenty of both, the passion with which they flooded in helped me realize what June 9, 2012 may very well mean to thoroughbred horse racing. Forget Tiznow winning back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classics, or Zenyatta going for a perfect 20 to close her career. Sorry. If I’ll Have Another wins the Belmont Stakes, it will be the biggest racing story in 34 years. Period.
The magic of the Triple Crown, magic that has gone unfulfilled for an eternity, trumps all. And you know what … I’m with the people on this one. I’m excited, and I’m ready to talk I’ll Have Another every day with my peeps for as long as we need to. This is a really good horse. All doubts on that fact were decimated in the last 100 yards of one of the better Preakness editions I have ever seen. He’s undefeated this year, he’s got class, heart, and the pedigree to go long, and most importantly, he has a great chance to do racing’s ultimate deed. What’s not to like? I know I like I’ll Have Another.
Now back to those aforementioned comments. Some of my favorites include these Facebook gems…
Sally Spencer – “I got it bad too!!!!”
Patti Henker – “Never ceases to amaze me how fast people jump on and off band wagons....”
Julie Smith – “Kinda makes one wanna go to NY.”
Shelly Asche – “No kidding! Go I'll Have Another. That is one gutsy little horse.”
Linda Waltman – “The last good Preakness. Go Sunday Silence.”
Or how about this Twitter comment that came in from ?@RKasoff – “Where you been?”
I’ve been right here, @RKasoff. I’ve seen them all in the past 40 years. I’m not ready to put I’ll Have Another in the same class as Spectacular Bid or Sunday Silence. No way. I am, however, ready to say this horse interests me more than any Triple Crown threat since Easy Goer squashed the great Sunday Silence down the Belmont Stakes stretch 23 years ago. I’ll Have Another will be the eighth horse to head to Belmont with a chance since then, following are my honest feelings on each.
Silver Charm was as gutsy as they come, and may have been a worthy horse to win the crown, but the truth of the matter was there was never any point in his career where I felt he was head and shoulders above his peers, like a Triple Crown winner should be. Horses like Free House, Captain Bodgit, and Touch Gold were just too equal to him in ability for me to get behind him 100% leading up to the Belmont.
Real Quiet and Charismatic meanwhile, were a pair that peaked at the right time, and either could have easily won the crown if circumstances had only been a hair different on Belmont Day. But considering how very spotty their respective records were before the Derby, the level of excitement was never quite that high for me on either of them.
War Emblem was a horse I never liked, and never thought would win the Belmont.
Funny Cide was a great story, and a fun ride, but I felt he was just a shade below the horse that won the Belmont that year, Empire Maker.
Smarty Jones fooled me. Undefeated going into the Belmont Park stretch, I could never shake the feeling that he was a horse that would not handle the classic distances. Because of this, as wrong as I may have been, I was not a full believer in Smarty until the Belmont was over.
Big Brown was another horse I never rooted for. Looking back, it’s pretty easy to realize that he was a special talent, but as that Triple Crown unfolded, I found myself hoping someone from that weak crop could stop this horse from going into the record books.
I’ll Have Another, on the other hand, has my full attention. He has my excitement level ratcheted up to 10. I think he can do it ...
I mean we all saw the Preakness, right?
Triple Crown Fever … catch it! 


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Older Comments about Triple Crown Fever – I’ll Have Another...

"Velazquez picks up mount on Union Rags" lethal combination. This is a definite threat.
I think IHA is a much better horse than any of the others and the added distance of the Belmont will suit him best of all.
Brian. love the enthusiasm...the fact of the matter is recent and long-standing history is not on I'll Have Another's side. Don't get me wrong, his Preakness proved, at least to me, how special he and his rider are. The problem is Belmont - the sandy surface, the distance, the configuration of the track, the difference in timing. If I'll Have Another is a true champion he will mitigate all that and win. If not, who are we left with
Brian, that would be a scarier nightmare if one with the breeding of Paynter(Awesome Again out of Tiznow's full sister) had stakes wins to his credit. But then, no one has told him he is out-classed at this point.
Potential nightmare subjects: Union Rags, Dullahan, Paynter, Alpha...
I saw ill have another win the kentucky derby live,and won some good greens on him that day I watched him race the preakness on tv and won some greens that day as well I will also watch him at the Bellmont and win some greens that day as we honor him the tripple crown what a awsome horse and jocky they also should win horse of the year hats off to you ill have another
I have to admit Easy Goer had my heart in 1989, and Big Brown majorly had my attention even though I never choose him for the Derby. But IHA is bringing the dream alive, and I for one believe in him.
1989 was the first Derby I ever watched and the first time I ever fell in love with a racehorse was with Sunday Silence. Since then, although I've loved both Cigar and Zenyatta, none of the other Derby runners have ever had my heart... until now. IHA isn't just good, he has HEART, and it's so inspiring to watch him run that I can see him bringing in new fans. Like Mario Guitierrez, he's humble in victory but humility does not necessarily exclude greatness. Speaking of Mario - have any column inches been spent on his bond with this particular horse? Jockeys are usually seen as "hands for hire" but is it possible that there's something special between Mario and IHA that has made all of this possible so far? IHA didn't seem to perform this way for any other rider....
IHA will get it done ;; he is a spicial horse ;; the doubters dont realize the ability required to run down a super freak like bode;; what puts iha over the top is 3 thinigs;; relaxed temperament to stalk iin the most perfect spot re the pace;; killer tactiical speed;; and last but not least distance breeding;; he holds the aces in alll three;; jmo
Awesome! Can't wait for IHA to do it...
Genetically he's as legit as they come. He has the heart and desire you can't train in, and the level head needed. I didn't see him for the Derby either, much to my dismay. Now if the genes prevail, Cookie can do it!! I'LL HAVE ANOTHER!!
Sorry stupid computer glitched on me.
Brian, I agree with you. This horse, when crossing the finish line, was still moving forward & away from the tiring pack. The only horse I think might have a chance with him is Alpha (I can't not include him, seeing how Bernardini is his sire and Bernardini has a lot of successful foals racing now). I love Union Rags, but I think the distance will be too far for him. As for your Big Brown comment, I don't think it was the horse himself that made you root against him, I think it was his obnoxious connections (Ivarone & Dutrow), as well as his horrible hooves.
And to think on June 9th we will be at Belmont to witness history in the making! That will be a first for me.

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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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