In the week since Reddam Racing’s I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Doug O’Neill has been a gracious celebrity. Before his colt went to the track Sunday morning to prepare for the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course, O’Neill changed roles to a fan, happy to be able to chat with Ron Turcotte, who rode Secretariat to a 1973 Triple Crown sweep.
Turcotte was in Maryland for the “Horses in Cinema” festival in Silver Spring and his tour of the Triple Crown races is being filmed for a Canadian documentary. O’Neill and Turcotte met briefly on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs, but they had a much longer conversation at Pimlico.
“Just to hang out here with him and talk shop with him was goose-bump stuff,” O’Neill said. “He was telling us about his ride on Secretariat and how he was last going into the first turn and first coming out of the first turn. We’re going to take some tips that he gave us about how to ride the race here and hopefully be successful in doing it."
I’ll Have Another, who is unbeaten this year, went to the track at 8:30 a.m. under his regular exercise rider, Jonny Garcia, and turned in a typically sharp gallop around Pimlico.
“We had a great morning,” O’Neill said. “We came in to an empty feed tub, ice-cold legs, and a horse with a lot of energy. We’re very happy with the way things are going so far.”