I’ll Have Another Arrives at Belmont
Following a pattern that has become a winning formula, Trainer Doug O’Neill waisted little time moving his Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion on to Belmont Park. Once the decision of shipping I’ll Have Another to Pimlico earlier than any recent Kentucky Derby winner proved to be rewarding, it was an easy choice for Doug O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam to put thier champion colt on the road the day after his Preakness Stakes victory.
Doug O’Neill was pretty confident that he would trust his instincts and ship I’ll Have Another swiftly after his Kentucky Derby victory. He felt it would be best for his colt to get settled in, acclimated to his new surroundings and most importantly comfortable with the new racing surface. The move got him into Pimlico almost two weeks before the Preakness after he arrived a week ahead of time at Churchill Downs. So now our potential Triple Crown winner has arrived at Belmont 3 weeks before the final jewel.
The good news is that he traveled well and should be good to go. Making the trip a smooth ride and keeping him company in the van from Baltimore to New York was his road warrior mate Lava Man, one of the top California Bred horses of all time with 7 Grade 1 wins and over $5 Million in earnings. Since his retirement in January of 2010 Lava Man has been assigned a new role by his former trainer Doug O’Neill and again he is producing huge results. Not only has Lava Man been traveling and exercising with I’ll Have Another in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown, he has also been servicing him as his Lead Pony in the first two legs. They may not be blood related but Lava Man has been a solid big bother on the 2012 Triple Crown.
Like the last move between races, Jack Sisterson, assistant to Doug O’Neill accompanied the horses on the trip and will be attending to them until O’Neill arrives from California sometime later this week or early next week. There hasn’t been a lot details regarding the training regimen that will unfold at Belmont but his connections are confident in his condition, his readiness and most importantly his stamina to race at the 1 1/2 Mile Belmont Stakes distance.
“The Test of the Champion”. It’s often refered to by this nickname because the distance is the longest of the three jewels. The stretch run at Belmont can sometimes feel like a mile long and has become the place more recently where Triple Crowns are lost instead of conquered. Breeding isn’t always guaranteed to answer the questions surrounding a horses’ chances but so far there isn’t any indications that I’ll Have Another will not stay true to where his blood lines have him racing his best. Including his breeding with how confident his team is right now and I’ll Have Another is in a very good position to take on this challenge. It’s safe to consider that his exercises up to the Belmont Stakes should hold his form so it may only be up to someone else racing at a higher level to ruin his bid.
It’s clear that I’ll Have Another and his entire team and supporting cast are now accustomed to the attention they will be receiving on the big stage. As any championship contender team should do and almost always do, this team is carrying themselves very well and with the right amount of confidence. Over the coming weeks we’ll take a much closer look at his chances and where he stands in comparison to the 11 immortals of thoroughbred racing but for now, I’ll Have Another has landed and the bid to end the Triple Crown drought has begun.
Written by: Little Brink