Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, piloted by Preakness newcomer Mario Gutierrez, overtook favorite and front-runner Bodemeister to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 19.
With the Preakness triumph, I’ll Have Another has raised Triple Crown hopes among his connections and horse racing fans.
Who’s having Affirmed/Alydar déjà vu now?
I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley x Arch’s Gal Edith by Arch) and Bodemeister (Empire Maker x Untouched Talent by Storm Cat) offered a similar scenario in the May 5 Run for the Roses, finishing first and second in that Triple Crown outing as well.
Horse racing history buffs are already reminiscing about the Affirmed and Alydar pairings, in which the two horses finished first and second, respectively, in all three Triple Crown races in 1978.
I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister have done just that in the first two Triple Crown outings of 2012.
The three-year-old chestnut Flower Alley son completed the 1 1/16-mile dirt track race in 1:55.94. Bodemeister placed second under jockey Mike Smith, followed by Creative Cause and jockey Joel Rosario. Rosario dedicated his Preakness ride to his late brother, a police officer killed just hours earlier in a traffic incident in the Dominican Republic.
Bodemeister’s trainer, Bob Baffert, pointed out that all three top Preakness finishers were California-based colts.
The 137th Preakness Stakes took place at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 19, 2012.
Second helpings are rewarding. Just ask the winning rider.
“It’s not me. It’s just him,” exclaimed Mario Gutierrez, I’ll Have Another’s young jockey, immediately after his Preakness victory. “It’s all about the horse. I’m so happy for him. He’s such a great horse. He just waits for me to ask him, then he goes for everything.”
So far, with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins, Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another are two-for-two in their first Triple Crown outings.
Triple Crown? Yes, please, urges the jubilant trainer.
“We’re thinking Triple Crown, baby,” quipped Doug O’Neill, I’ll Have Another’s conditioner, after tossing his houndstooth hat into the stands, as he did at Churchill Downs. “He’s a special horse.”
O’Neill praised his jockey after the successful race. “He’s patient and kept [I’ll Have Another] out of trouble. He’s the king.”
I’ll Have Another’s happy owner may be counting more than cookies now.
J. Paul Reddam named the colt after his own oft-quoted response to his wife Zillah’s home-baked cookies. After his prized horse’s pair of Triple Crown race wins, he may be counting trophies more than treats.
As Pimlico staffers painted the horse atop the gazebo in Reddam’s stable colors, the excited owner said this about his Triple Crown plans. “I’m gonna try to keep everyone’s feet on the ground till the Belmont [Stakes].”
Third in the Triple Crown of horse racing, the 1.5-mile Belmont Stakes is set for Saturday, June 9, 2012, at Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York.
If I’ll Have Another prevails in the Belmont, he will become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. Jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont in 1978. The previous year, Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown under jockey Jean Cruguet.
Since 1978, the coveted Triple Crown has remained unclaimed.
What will racing fans likely be chanting, as three-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses line up for the Belmont in three weeks?
“I’ll Have Another.”
You bet they will.
Despite chemical-related controversies O’Neill may be facing, folks tend to love a winner. And a Triple Crown winner might inject some much-needed added interest in horse racing, as long as the victory is not soured by any alleged or apparent medical misbehavior or mistreatment of horses.
- I’ll Have Another: Kentucky Derby 138 final results with video and slideshow
- Preakness Stakes unveils new Kegasus mascot to fain and disdain
- 10 Fun Ways to Pick a Racehorse Without Knowing Racing
- Shackleford unleashes power to win 136th Preakness Stakes
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