Not this year.
Despite heavy anticipation that horse racing would have its first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, I'll Have Another is not running the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. During an interview on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Friday, trainer Doug O'Neill broke the news.
The surprise scratch is the result of an injury, with O'Neill telling the Dan Patrick Show that the horse "has the start of some tendonitis in the left front leg.” O'Neill went on to reveal that he doesn't expect the horse to race again.
"The horse is sound and happy, but it's not worth it," O'Neill would later tell The Associated Press.
The New York Racing Association quickly scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. on Friday. During the press conference held at Belmont Park, it was announced that I'll Have Another is retired from racing.
Very early on Friday morning, O'Neill had worked out I'll Have Another, getting the chestnut colt out on the track at Belmont at 5:30 a.m., according to the New York Daily News.
"He is fit and ready to go and we are just trying to let him bring as much energy to the table tomorrow as possible," O'Neill told the News hours before announcing the scratch during a radio appearance, later adding, "We are ready to roll."
I'll Have Another is far from the first horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown before failing to finish it off. The scratch for I'll Have Another marks just the third time in the history of the Triple Crown that a horse has won the first two legs but not run the Belmont. During the 1930s, Burgo King and Bold Venture captured the Derby and the Preakness but did not start the Belmont.
Here are the alibis (or excuses) for some of the other notable horses that came close but never celebrated the feat.
*Captions via AP