I’ll Have Another out of Belmont with tendon injury, retired (with photo gallery)

Dullahan now 9-5 favorite; minority owner from Saratoga Springs says, "We want to win the Belmont, b

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another is out of the Belmont Stakes with a tendon injury, ending the hopes of the 12th Triple Crown in horse racing history.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another was found to have swelling in his left foreleg after a routine gallop early this morning. After further examination by a veterinarian, the horse was scratched from Saturday’s 144th Belmont Stakes and retired to stud because of the long time it would take to recover.

“This is extremely tough for everyone,” O’Neill said. “No one died or anything, but it’s extremely disappointing, and I feel sorry for the whole team.”

“I really thought he was going to run off tomorrow and really show something,” owner Paul Reddam said. “So we were all a bit shocked, but we have to do what’s best for the horse.”

The unfortunate injury to the favorite will elevated Dullahan to the role of favorite. Saratoga Springs resident Ray Bryan, a minority owner in Dullahan, said, “We want to win the Belmont, but we don’t want to win it this way.”

Dullahan was third in the Kentucky Derby and his handlers intentionally skipped the Preakness to point toward the Belmont. Dullahan was the 5-1 second choice in the betting for the Belmont behind I’ll Have Another at 4-5.

With the Derby and Preakness winner out of the Belmont, the adjusted morning line, in post position order, is as follows: Street Life 8-1; Unstoppable U 20-1; Union Rags 3-1; Atigun 15-1; Dullahan 9-5; Ravelo’s Boy 30-1; Five Sixteen 30-1; Guyana Star Dweej 30-1; Paynter 7-2; Optimizer 15-1; My Adonis 15-1.

When asked it was suggested to Dullahan trainer Dale Romans that the situation would be good for his horse but bad for racing, Romans said “This is not good for me. I wanted to beat [I’ll Have Another].

“It’s devastating. Whoever wins, there’s going to be an asterisk.”

“You do everything you can to avoid the unexpected, and then it still happens from time to time,” said Billy Turner, who trained 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.

O’Neill surprised track observers by sending I’ll Have Another out for an early gallop at 5:30 a.m. today, three hours earlier than the designated workout slot for Belmont Stakes runners.

According to Dennis O’Neill, Doug’s brother, the horse had a veterinary scan after the gallop and the tendon seemed “kind of tender.”

No one could immediately recall another instance when a Triple Crown contender pulled out the Belmont Stakes the day before the big race.

“I hate to hear that kind of news for anybody in a big race,” said Mechanicville native Chad Brown, who trains Street Life. “I haven’t really thought about how it changes the race. It doesn’t change anything for me. I’m going to approach the race the same way I was going to anyway, and so is my jockey. We have a plan, and that’s it.”

“It’s devastating. I thought this was going to be one of the greatest races in history, and I wanted the opportunity to be part of it,” added Romans. “But this is bigger than that. This is terrible news.”

Last September, I’ll Have Another came out of a losing effort in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga with shin problems and took the rest of the year off.

He returned to racing in February, and won the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, putting the colt firmly on the Triple Crown trail.

Doug O’Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam immediately gave I’ll Have Another two months off leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, which he won by a nose on April 12.

He followed with victories in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and the Preakness two weeks later to set up a highly anticipated bid to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

Categories: News, Schenectady County, Sports

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