2012 Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another retired. CNN image.

I’ll Have Another scratched due to injury, loses chance at the Triple Crown

UPDATE — I’ll Have Another will not lead the post parade for the Belmont Stakes as originally planned. Instead, the NYRA will hold a retirement ceremony for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner after the running of the Woodford Reserve Manhattan so fans can see him and pay tribute.

2012 Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another retired.  CNN image.
2012 Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another retired. Will not run in Belmont Stakes due to injured tendon. CNN image.

JOE DRAPE, writing for The Rail / New York Times reports:

I’ll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner who was aiming to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, was scratched Friday from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes and later retired from racing because of a leg injury.

The 3-year-old colt, who had been a long-shot winner of the Derby and an impressive winner three weeks ago in the Preakness, has tendinitis in his left front leg, his trainer, Doug O’Neill, said.

I'll Have Another and trainer Doug O'Neill.  Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.
Trainer Doug O’Neill at a news conference Friday to announce I’ll Have Another’s retirement. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

Although the gutsy 3-year old Chestnut I’ll Have Another could fully expect to recover and race again, it was announced at the Friday news conference that he will be retired instead.

Later in the same article Drape states:

O’Neill has insisted he is a clean trainer. He said he welcomed the intense monitoring. But almost inevitably, as soon as word of I’ll Have Another’s injury surfaced online, the wisecracks began, implying there might be an underlying or hidden drug issue involved.

Read full article >>

I’ll Have Another will reportedly lead the Belmont Stakes parade. This idea began drawing criticism almost immediately on Twitter, where the news I’ll Have Another had been scratched was reported prior to the press conference formally announcing it. As a horse doctor tweeted: “Would you walk a half mile with baggage after spraining your ankle just for the cheers?”

18 thoughts on “I’ll Have Another scratched due to injury, loses chance at the Triple Crown”

  1. I’m sorry but it’s the trainers that are the real crooks here in this case. Most of the time the owners are way too naive and they really don’t care nor do they really want to know just how their horse wins, they just want it to win, that’s all. The owners simply shell out the money, and the trainer trains the horse to win and that’s the jest of it all. It’s like I said, the owners are naive and the trainers are crafty crooks. However, some of the so called trainers out there are just better at their crafty doings than others! The nasty and sad part of all of this is it’s the horses that are truly the innocent victims.


  2. Referring to O’Neill’s NBC interview today, the DRF tweeted the following:

    1) O’Neill on NBC broadcast: “Would I have run a horse like this 10 years ago? I can’t answer that.”

    2) More O’Neill on NBC broadcast: “With maturity, you realize it’s all about the horse.”

    I think it would be terrific if O’Neill has learned that it is all about the horse. I feel the way US horse racing is run, however, the temptation will simply be too much for him, especially since he seemingly has learned to get away with it time and time again and meted out meager punishment when caught.

    Hmmm, maybe some enterprising bookie should make odds on when O’Neill’s next medication violation will be. This year? Next year? In a month or two?

    Like you Jane, no matter what dollars and cents indicate, I also find I’ll Have Another’s retirement suspicious. Even if he were to run in the Breeders’ Cup and get beat, he is still the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. Stud fees will be extremely high no matter what.

    So, is a tendon injury the real reason for his speedy retirement? Look at the racehorses who have had fractures, been operated on and run and won again.


  3. Isnt it ironic that horses usually in the Triple Crown almost always suffer ill effects???? you would think the message is very revealing !!!!!! Not to many horses make it through all three, it is a grueling and much too challenging for most race horses , they either need to strengthen up these little ankles or stop using such grueling races catastrophic breakdowns as with Eight Belles !!!! Answer is simple !!!!!!


  4. You are all so right.

    There is nothing heroic in my opinion about O’Neill or Reddam. No way were they stupid enough to risk I’ll Have Another going for the Triple Crown and breaking down and dying during the race, or can you imagine, past the finish line like Eight Belles. They have already raked in millions off this wonderful horse and can continue to do so without taking any further chances. The horse himself benefited simply by default.

    I am glad the NYRA have decided against I’ll Have Another leading the post parade for the Belmont Stakes. These horses are geared mentally and physically to race. The horse has no business being out there. Much nicer to let the fans see and applaud I’ll Have Another at the now planned ‘retirement’ ceremony. Would be truly wonderful if neither O’Neill or Reddam were there; just the horse’s groom.


    1. Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if it was just I’ll Have Another and his groom. O’Neill and Reddam definitely do not deserve the accolades.

      I still have my suspicions.


  5. Yup, there’s evil afoot here….too much solicitude after all the legal citations against O’Neill…he just wouldn’t chance it…and to “retire” a horse for tendonitis…pretty clear that there was a prior problem…a whole series of them, probably. I’m sorry that we won’t have a Triple Crown winner, but hell, rather that than have an unfit horse raced at risk of his health, safety and life, and those of the other horses and jockeys.


    1. Agree. I am glad he is not running today, as much as it would have been a thrilling race. Better not to risk his life and those of others. The welfare of the horse should always come first.

      I also believe there was a preexisting problem(s?) that they simply could not ignore given the circumstances surrounding this race, the security measures put in place, the Triple Crown and O’Neill’s reputation..If anything were to happen to IHA today O’Neill’s career could potentially be in ruins.

      And of course now O’Neill and Reddam look to be unsung heroes of the racing world and to make things even more rosy they will reap the economic rewards to be had at stud. They win at all costs.


  6. The only reason the horse was taken out of the race is because the barn was locked down 3 days before the race. What would have happened is the horse would have been pumped full of Bute and other drugs and raced with the injuries. I think it was pulled because no drugs were allowed for the 3 days and it couldn’t run without them. A lot of these horses are winning because of the drugs not because of being able to outrun the rest of the entries. Pulling this horse out of the race probably saved its life. If it had went down during the race it might have taken other horses and riders with it in a pileup. And on top of that they claim to use it as a sire but according to the number of TB’s found at slaughter auctions I hope the rescues that buy a lot of these horses keep a eye out for him in the next months or years. The ones that I have seen in photos that have been found at auctions and bought don’t look anything like what they did when they were were racing. They have been starved and neglected with untreated injuries and tossed on the trash pile all because of greed.


    1. Well put Barbara. I think you are right on target there.

      Speaking of “it”, it would be great if we are all extremely careful about referring to horses and all sentient beings as “its”. It is subtle, but more important than people may think. We get upset when horse slaughter people refer to slaughter as “processing” or “harvesting”. It is the same thing. Thanks!


      1. Harvesting is for vegetables, Slaughtering is for the rats, Life in Freedom on the Range is where the Mustangs belong ,……………..The Wild mustangs have purpose and are Living breathing, awesome gifts……….


  7. My only concern here is for the Horse Ill have another, If in fact Mr O Neil is guilty of drug crimes, that is a Horse of a different color(no pun intended)……………… We will just have to wait another year for a Triple Crown Winner…. Affirmed is still the Reining last horse to win the Triple Crown 1978…………


    1. What is disconcerting is whether “Team O’Neill” simply caved due to the scrutiny put upon the Belmont and the fact there is no room for cheating, even if it isn’t performance enhancing drugs…there are other ways to cheat.

      My instinct has it that they were facing a race they didn’t want to lose but were “nervous” for whatever reason and perhaps guilty of whatever.

      The clandestine 5:30 a.m. run this morning on a horse that was injured??? Too suspicious because of the time and then the ultimate in that no one would force a horse to run injured unless they had ulterior motives. And then retirement??? For a tendon injury????? What about the Breeders Cup and HOTY??? I dunno. There is something amiss as far as I am concerned

      It’s all about $$$$$$$$$$s. 4 out of 4 wins…let’s take him to stud with a “perfectly logical” decision….I dunno, something stinks here.

      Yes, it is that bad that I don’t believe a word they say, but how can one not think that way?????


      1. Yes Jane, there definitely is something amiss I agree , You usually dont retire a horse for a tendon injury????????? He also is to walk in the post parade??????? I am sure there is something going on, I wonder why he just didnt wait until tomorrow to scratch>>>>>>>>


        1. Agree Arlene..makes me sad.

          I’ll Have Another is such a great little horse. Too bad about his connections :(


          1. Yes, Jane there are many things wrong with Horse racing that should and will be addressed, its the only way it can survive……………I watched a Race the other day, it was spectacular , only 5 horses in it one very great horse Game on Dude, not one of these horses were whipped , Game on Dude won by 8 Lengths… It was a pleasure for me to watch…………………….. I respect Jockeys who do not use a whip, knowing Race Horses everyone of them wants to win………………….they do not require a whip !!!!!!


  8. Very suspicious circumstances if you look at the chain of events…..that’s all I can say.

    Too bad that there is absolutely NO trust in NA racing, thanks to bad owners and trainers. The horses themselves have no choice in the matter. How sad the whole thing is.


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