A tendon injury has ruled I’ll Have Another out of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, ending the dream of the first Triple Crown in 34 years. The horse will be retired, his connections said.
I’ll Have Another, trained by Doug O’Neill, had already wrapped up the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, leaving just the Belmont between him and the elusive Triple Crown.
A Belmont win would have seen I’ll Have Another become the 12th horse in history to achieve the milestone, and the first since Affirmed in 1978 to complete the race treble.
However, O’Neill announced on the eve of the race that the three-year-old chestnut colt had suffered a leg injury.
The horse, owned by Paul Reddam, suffered a tendon injury during his final workout earlier on Friday.
O’Neill said the withdrawal was a huge disappointment, but he had to do what was in the best interests of the horse.
A scan indicated the start of tendonitis in his left foreleg.
The horse, he said, was not 100 per cent and his connections were not taking any chances.
I’ll Have Another reportedly looked fine after the completion of the workout, but his leg began to swell after he cooled down.
Reddam, at a press conference outside at the Belmont course, confirmed that I’ll Have Another had been retired. He hinted the horse would likely go to stud next season
O’Neill said of the injury: “This is extremely tough for all of us. Though it’s far from tragic. No-one died or anything like that, but it’s extremely disappointing and I feel so sorry for the whole team. We have had such an amazing run.”
He said the vet’s view was that I’ll Have Another could race again after three to six months of treatment.
“But obviously he’s done so much that it was unanimous between the Reddams and my brother and I and everyone at the barn to retire him. And it is a bummer, but again, far from tragic, but it is very disappointing.”
Reddam continued: “I just want to thank Doug and his entire team for the great care they have given this horse. It was a hell of a run and I know they are all personally very disappointed, of course, that he didn’t get to show his stuff for tomorrow.”
I’ll Have Another will return to California on Monday or Tuesday.