On Saturday, June 9, 2012, at Belmont Park I'll Have Another was supposed to attempt to become American racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. No horse has swept the series, consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, since Affirmed in 1978. Sadly, he was denied his chance at immortality when he was scratched the day before the race due to an injury and was subsequently retired. Eventually he was sold to Shigeyuki Okada of Japan for $10 million where he will serve stud duty at Big Red Farm in Hokkaido.
I'll Have Another was foaled on April 1, 2009 in Kentucky, a son of Flower Alley, out of the Arch mare Arch's Gal Edith. Flower Alley was a stable star for owner-breeder Eugene Melnyk, winning the 2005 Travers, Lane's End, and Jim Dandy Stakes and was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Arch's Gal Edith won her lone career start at Belmont Park. He was bought at the Ocala Breeders Sales auction in August 2011 by owner J. Paul Reddam for just $35,000 and was sent to trainer Doug O'Neill in California. He got his name from Reddam's usual response when his wife Zillah says she's about to put away the cookies he enjoys snacking on in the evening.
He made his debut at Hollywood Park on July 3, 2011, winning gate to wire over 5 1/2 furlongs on Cushion Track under jockey Joel Rosario. Rosario retained the mount for his second race, the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar, finishing second to Creative Cause at 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack. O'Neill then shipped him across the country to Saratoga where he was a disappointing 6th under new jockey Julien Leparoux, beaten 19 lengths in the Hopeful (G1), run at 7 furlongs on a sloppy track. He came out of that race with shin problems and did not race the rest of his 2-year-old season.
Off the 5 month layoff he made his 3-year-old debut in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on February 4, 2012, and was dismissed at odds of 43-1. At the suggestion of Reddam, new jockey and then-unknown Mario Gutierrez was given the opportunity to ride. Rather than go gate to wire like he did in his first two starts, Gutierrez employed a stalking trip, and won going away by 2 3/4 lengths. Gutierrez retained the mount for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 7, and powered to a nose decision over favorite Creative Cause.
The win should have meant he would be short-priced in the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, but he was all but ignored at 15-1, in part because he drew post 19 which had never won. He settled in 6th on the outside away from traffic, was moved to the far outside for room by Gutierrez and was quickly gaining on the favorite Bodemeister. Inside the 1/16 pole. Bodemeister tired enough for I'll Have Another to run by him to win the Derby by 1 1/2 lengths.
Two weeks later in the 2012 Preakness Stakes, he was sent off as the 3-1 second choice, as Bodemeister again went off as the favorite. Gutierrez kept I'll Have Another out of trouble in fourth early about 3 lengths off the pace. Entering the stretch, Bodemeister opened up a 3 length lead, but like in the Derby, I'll Have Another closed on the outside. The pair hooked up inside the 1/16 pole and I'll Have Another pushed ahead by a neck in the final strides to get the win, setting up the first potential Triple Crown sweep since Big Brown's failed attempt in 2008.
Photos of I'll Have Another:
- Winning the Preakness Stakes
- More Preakness Stakes
- At Pimlico in the morning
- More from Pimlico in the morning
- Winning the Kentucky Derby
- More from the Kentucky Derby
- Tuesday morning before the Derby
- More Tuesday morning before the Derby
- Wednesday morning before the Derby
- Thursday morning before the Derby
- More Thursday morning before the Derby
- Winning the Santa Anita Derby
- More from the Santa Anita Derby