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SANTA ANITA DERBY WINNER I’LL HAVE ANOTHER WINS PREAKNESS, STANDS TO BECOME FIRST TRIPLE CROWN WINNER SINCE AFFIRMED IN JUNE 9 BELMONT STAKES
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 20, 2012)—Despite winning the Santa Anita Derby on April 7 and the Kentucky Derby on May 5, I’ll Have Another was once again not favored to win on Saturday at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, but did so in dramatic fashion, running down favored Bodemeister to win by a neck and thus set the stage for a Triple Crown bid on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park in New York.
Fans are encouraged to make reservations now at (626) 574-RACE and to watch and wager on this historic run via simulcast at Santa Anita on June 9.
Owned by Paul and Zillah Reddam, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, I’ll Have Another was attentive to the pace set by Bodemeister and after saving ground around both turns, was called upon by Gutierrez at the top of the Pimlico stretch. Although Bodemeister had a full head of steam and a 3 ½ lengths advantage, the Kentucky-bred son of Flower Alley managed to engage the favorite inside the sixteenth pole and overtook him in the shadow of the wire to pay $8.40 to win.
Bodemeister carved out realistic fractions of 23.79, 47.68, 1:11.72 and 1:35.69 and I’ll Have Another stopped the clock at 1:55.94 for the 1 3/16 miles.
Although Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert declared Bodemeister off the Triple Crown trail, I’ll Have Another, who will seek to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, figures to face several battle-tested and fresh horses in the 1 ½ miles Belmont Stakes, including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Union Rags, Mark Valeski, Dullahan, Paynter and others.
I’ll Have Another, who became the 16th horse to exit the Santa Anita Derby and win the Kentucky Derby and who is attempting to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, was vanned to Belmont Park from Pimlico on Sunday morning, while the Reddams, O’Neill and Gutierrez all flew back to Los Angeles on a private jet.
“We’re pretty much following the same path that we took after the Derby,” said Dennis O’Neill, who purchased I’ll Have Another for a paltry $35,000 in April of 2011. “We shipped early to Baltimore (Pimlico) and we’ve done the same thing now going into New York. Doug just thinks it’s best to get him where he needs to be and to let him acclimate there. This horse is amazing. So far, he’s handled everything that’s been thrown at him and he seems to be thriving on it.”
Southern California racing was once again well represented as I’ll Have Another headed a Southern California-based Preakness trifecta, as Bodemeister is regularly stabled at Santa Anita and third-place finisher Creative Cause calls Hollywood Park home.
In the Kentucky Derby, four out of the top six finishers were Southern California-based: I’ll Have Another (winner), Bodemeister (second), Creative Cause (fifth) and Liaison (sixth).
O’Neill and the I’ll Have Another camp figure to be busy on and off the track in the week leading into the Belmont as no less than four media events have been planned: On Tuesday, June 5, there will be an Empire State Building photo opportunity and a media luncheon at Rockefeller Center. On Wednesday, June 6, Belmont Park will conduct the Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw. On Thursday, June 7, there is an opportunity to preside over the NASDAQ opening bell in the morning, to be followed by a noon press conference at Belmont Park. On Friday, June 8, all Belmont Stakes participants will be invited to a Belmont Press Party at the Garden City Hotel.
O’Neill, who turns 44 on Thursday, has three Santa Anita training titles to his credit and was third with 36 wins at the recently concluded 2011-12 winter/spring meeting.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita in late September and the 2012 Autumn Meet will be highlighted by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 2 & 3. For more Breeders’ Cup information or to make reservations, visit www.breederscup.com, or call (626) 254-1330.