I’ll Have Another retires ahead of Belmont run

Trainer Doug O'Neill walks with I'll Have Another after he was scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

There will be no Triple Crown for the first time since 1978. I’ll Have Another won’t even get the opportunity to run.

Trainer Doug O’Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam decided to pull the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes after a scan showed the beginnings of tendinitis in I’ll Have Another’s left front leg.

This is extremely tough for all of us, though it’s far from tragic,” O’Neill said at a press conference from Belmont Friday afternoon. “It’s extremely disappointing. I feel so sorry for the whole team. We’ve had such an amazing run. For me, taking three buses to Santa Anita at age 10 [when beginning his training career] to get here and make this happen.”

The horse had been taking it easy leading up to the 1 1/2 mile race, but O’Neill said that was the plan all along. They noticed a small problem with the leg Thursday afternoon, but hoped it was just discoloration. O’Neill said the horse looked fine when he took him out early Friday morning, but after the run, the injury flared up again.

“Just a freakish thing,” O’Neill said. “He’s been a little quiet the last few days at galloping. In the afternoon [Thursday], we noticed a little bit of loss in definition. I thought he looked great cooling out. [But] you could tell the swelling was back immediately [after Friday's morning session]. We got [Belmont veterinarian] Dr. [James] Hunt over here. He said it was the start of tendinitis in the front left tendon.

“If he didn’t look 100 percent this morning, I wouldn’t have [taken him out]. He looked great this morning; he trained great,” O’Neill said.”

The decision was made in the best interest of the horse’s health. I’ll Have Another could be worth millions in stud fees, which is why they decided to retire the horse before the injury got worse. Reddam said they would look at that once the situation had calmed down, though.

“Stud season is over for this year, so the horse will go back to Hollywood Park, be in friendly surrounding and I guess we would be open to talking about that at some point,” Reddam said. “We’ll take a few days to let this play out.”

“Could he run and compete? Yes,” O’Neill said. “Would it be in his best interest? No.”

I’ll Have Another’s jockey, 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, was speechless when Reddam called him Friday morning.

“I called Mario just after I talked to Doug and he was sort of stunned,” Reddam said. “He didn’t really say much. I wasn’t sure he understood what I was saying. His immediate reaction was, ‘Should i go home now?’ He had a tremendous bonding with I’ll Have Another. His concern was 100 percent with the horse. His safety, along with the other riders’ safety, was paramount.”

No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Seattle Slew won it the year before in 1977 as well. The last horse to attempt the feat was Big Brown in 2008. I’ll Have Another won’t even get that.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…