In the bright sunshine on the curving track there is something beautiful about watching a horse gliding along, all its muscles flexing under the soft weight of the jockey. The chestnut colt I’ll Have Another has that glow of a winner as it goes through training sessions at Belmont Park here in New York.
There is nothing but good buzz about the colt, moving under exercise rider Jonny Garcia under the watchful eyes of trainer Doug O’Neill. All seemed right with the world for them after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The one and a half mile daily routine was followed by the bath and the cool down. What could go wrong?
Well, on Thursday, May 31, 2012, a runaway horse could have caused all the Triple Crown dreams to fade away. As I’ll Have Another was exercising on the track, an out of control horse came very close to crashing into it. This kind of accident could have jeopardized the colt’s chances for glory or even cost him his career or his life.
The horse named Isleta (owned by the Steinbrenner family) grazed Garcia’s foot as it ran wild, and this near miss has caused the New York Racing Association to change the timing for trainers to provide for a sufficient gap to prevent such incidents from happening again.
I’ll Have Another is poised to possibly become the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first since Affirmed won it all back in 1978. While everyone is excited about the June 9th Belmont Stakes and the colt’s chances for the crown, that gap in time suggests how difficult it is for one horse to win it all.
The talk on sports radio is that most of those guys who follow horse racing (yes, the ones with those cigars in their mouths and glasses of whiskey on the bar as they are looking over the daily racing forms) are calling in and saying I’ll Have Another has what it takes to be a champion. They say he has the heart and the look of a winner, and out in Vegas they seem to agree with the New York cigar chompers, with the colt being tabbed as the overall favorite to win at Belmont.
So ice up the champagne and get ready for June 9th. Chances are that quite a few people will be saying “I’ll Have Another” if the sweet chestnut colt succeeds at Belmont, and if he does win his name will be said in the same breath as Secretariat and Seattle Slew. Not a bad legacy for the four year old colt as it will take its place among horse racing legends. Not a bad legacy indeed!
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