I'll Have Another wins Preakness Stakes
Published Saturday, May 19, 2012 10:37PM EDT
Canadian-owned I'll Have Another claimed another come-from-behind victory Saturday, this time at the Preakness Stakes, to take the second jewel in horse-racing's famed Triple Crown.
In a race reminiscent of the horse's Kentucky Derby win on May 5, the chestnut colt shot from the back of the pack to overtake race leader Bodemeister.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez rode I'll Have Another to victory, as he did at the Derby.
"He has a tremendous kick in the end," Gutierrez said. "It's not me, it's him. He just keeps proving people wrong."
I'll Have Another is owned by Windsor, Ont.'s J. Paul Reddam. Gutierrez trained at Vancouver's Hastings Racecourse.
The horse is now in position to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The third jewel, the Belmont Stakes, is run on June 9.
"We're thinking Triple Crown, baby," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He's a special horse. We'll see how he comes out of it, and if he comes out of it in good shape, we're heading to New York, baby."
Saturday's race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore played out in similar fashion as the Derby. Bodemeister shot to the front of the pack early while I'll Have Another settled into fourth place in the 11-horse race.
But I'll Have Another picked up speed down the stretch to beat Bodemeister by a neck.
"I knew it was a long stretch and I have to say there was a point I didn't think we were going to get there," Reddam said.
"Bodemeister was running his guts out. It was a fantastic race. I didn't feel confident we were going to get there until we were ten yards from the wire."
Should I'll Have Another win the Belmont Stakes, the colt will become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown.
Since Affirmed swept the three races in 1978, 11 horses have won the first two jewels, the most recent being Big Brown in 2008.
Glenn Crouter of Woodbine Entertainment Group said it was very likely the plan all along to keep I'll Have Another back, a strategy known as stalking, in order to make a move near the end of the race.
"At the top of the stretch, I didn't think -- and I was sitting with a lot of trainers -- we didn't think he was going to be able to do it, because he just seemed to be all over the track, he was going in and out, he didn't have a clear path, he was kind of making it challenging for himself," Crouter told CTV News Channel.
"He overcame all that and won and it was probably one of the most exciting Preaknesses I've seen in many years."
While his trainer was looking ahead to Belmont, Reddam was more cautious, telling reporters he isn't looking beyond Saturday's victory.
"We'll just roll one day at a time and hopefully the horse is doing well out of the race," Reddam said. "It's going to get crazy and I'm going to try and keep everyone's feet on the ground."
Odds-makers had given I'll Have Another a 3-1 chance of victory, with Bodemeister at 8-5.
According to Crouter, winning the Triple Crown is so difficult because of the number of races that have to be won in a short period of time. The travel, and then having to adapt to a new course each time, take their toll on the horses.
After the Belmont Stakes, I'll Have Another will have raced four times in nine weeks.
"In thoroughbred terms, that's unheard of," Crouter said. "That's why the Triple Crown is so elusive."
With files from The Associated Press