I'll Have Another confirmed out of Belmont Stakes, will be retired.
I’ll Have Another will not run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes—in fact, the colt who had a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 will be retired.
Tendinitis in I’ll Have Another’s left-front foot was the reason for the decision to pull the horse from the Belmont—and ultimately call an end to his racing career—trainer Doug O’Neill said at a Friday afternoon press conference at Belmont Park.
I'll Have Another was walked by a groom behind O'Neill and his owner, Paul Reddam, while the two addressed the media.
“It was unanimous to retire him,” Reddam said.
O’Neill added of his horse’s injury, “Could he run and compete? Yes. Would it be in his best interest? No.”
After an early Friday morning gallop, O'Neill declared I'll Have Another "fit and ready to go," but the trainer later noticed that the horse’s left-front foot was tender.
“He galloped great yesterday and then in the afternoon he had a little bit of swelling in his left front leg," O’Neill said earlier on The Dan Patrick Show. "This morning he looked perfect. I took him out and I just did a little something with him, and after training that swelling came back. I had the vet come over. He scanned his left front leg and he’s got the start of some tendinitis in that front leg. So he’s not 100 percent, and we ain’t taking any chances and (are) pulling him out."
Added O'Neill, “It’s a bummer but far from tragic.”
With I’ll Have Another out, the favorites in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes figure to be Dullahan and Union Rags. But there’s clearly a pall that’s been cast over the race, and the mood around Belmont Park has been characterized as one of shock.
“It’s devastating," said Dale Romans, who trains Dullahan. "I thought this was going to be one of the great races in history. I wanted to be part of that. But this is bigger. This is terrible news.”