An assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill said Triple Crown contender I'll Have Another was a happy horse the morning of May 21 and could go to the Belmont Park main track later in the week.
“He looks fantastic this morning,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson. “He ate everything up last night and is a very happy horse. He walked the shedrow this morning. I have to speak with Doug, but it’s likely he will go to the main track at some point this week.”
The 3-year-old son of Flower Alley is seeking to become the 12th horse to sweep the coveted Triple Crown when he competes in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). In both the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), I’ll Have Another wore down pacesetter Bodemeister to post classic victories.
“He came out of the Preakness fantastic, just like he came out of the Derby,” said Sisterson. “He acts like he never even ran a race.”
Beginning with Sir Barton in 1919, the Triple Crown has been won by 11 horses, the most recent being Affirmed in 1978. Five years earlier, Secretariat became the first horse since Citation (1948) to win the Triple Crown, with his 31-length Belmont triumph and in 1977 Seattle Slew became the first undefeated Triple Crown winner with his Belmont victory running his record to 9-0.
Completing the roster of Triple Crown winners are Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), and Assault (1946).
Beyond the 11 champions, the 1 ½-mile Belmont has tripped up 19 Triple Crown hopefuls, most recently Big Brown, who did not finish Da’ Tara’s Belmont in 2008. There were consecutive Triple Crown tries from 2002-2004, with the Bob Baffert-trained War Emblem finishing eighth behind Sarava in 2002, New York-bred Funny Cide coming in third behind Empire Maker in 2003, and Smarty Jones being caught by Birdstone in the shadow of the wire before a record 120,139 fans in 2004.