B Matt Yoder, Awful Announcing
Rumors began to swirl on Twitter earlier this morning that there was something amiss with Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another. A press conference was reportedly scheduled at Belmont Park for early afternoon and reports got louder and louder that the horse would be scratched from the race. Trainer Doug O'Neill then appeared on The Dan Patrick Show moments later and confirmed what would have been unthinkable just an hour earlier - I'll Have Another was officially out of the Belmont Stakes. O'Neill said I'll Have Another suffered a left front leg injury and it was a "freakish thing." Here's the audio of the interview straight from The Dan Patrick Show...
It's just awful news for everyone involved. Doug O'Neill has had controversy surround him, but he made an admirable decision to do what was in I'll Have Another's best interest in spite of the chance to win the Triple Crown. It's a crushing blow to NBC, the Belmont Stakes, and to the sport as a whole. While horse racing has fallen by the wayside in the sports landscape, many people do still tune in to watch the Triple Crown races. There was a huge sense of anticipation and excitement for this year's Belmont, the first in 4 years that had a Triple Crown at stake. Now, NBC's ratings will suffer enormously and the record Triple Crown drought will continue.
The Belmont was going to be a central part of arguably the best sports day of the year so far as well. Game 7 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Euro 2012's second day, the French Open ladies final, and a Manny Pacquiao fight are all taking place tomorrow. With all that happening, I'll Have Another's run at the Triple Crown was going to be the most exciting two minutes of the day. Sadly, the Belmont will now be relegated to an afterthought in a crowded field of major sporting events.