By DiMarkco Chandler
If you’re a racehorse fan, then you’re probably already disappointed that “I’ll Have Another” will not become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown. Unlike yesterday, you’re no longer anxious to hear the announcer say, “and they’re off” in this year’s 2012 Belmont Stakes.
It’s been four years since any horse has had a chance. Big Brown, who in 2008 won the first leg, the Kentucky Derby, and the second leg, the Preakness to finish last in the field of horses in the Belmont Stakes was the last horse to give the sport of racing a chance to overcome a three-decade stretch of unfulfilled expectations.
This year, the hope has completely disappeared. The 3-year-old chestnut colt winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, “I’ll Have Another,” is battling tendinitis and will never race again.
It seems since media is everywhere nowadays that interest in the sport was raised to levels not seen since Affirm ran and won against Alydar.
However, in the case of “I’ll Have Another,” winning the Belmont Stakes and subsequently the Triple Crown would have been far easier said than done. There are so many variables and facts against such a feat; it’s hard to know where to begin to explain the odd realities; however, tendinitis was outside of our purview.
Yesterday, we predicted that the only sure bet in this race was that “I’ll Have Another” would not win. And though we were right, we didn’t see a scratch as a possibility. Keeping with our reason, we’ll still ask you to consider this, the last three “Triple Crown Winners” all accomplished their mortality in the decade known as the 1970s: Sacretariat won it in 1973; Seattle Slew won the Triple in 1977, and Affirmed did it in 1978. Since then, 11 horses have won the Derby and the Preakness only to lose at Belmont. Therefore it can be argued that the 70s gave racehorse fans a false perception of the sport.
For instance, today’s trainers do not train race horses for distance racing, instead, they emphasize speed. The Belmont Stakes is a grueling mile-and-a-half distance. No other race or racetrack covers that much ground. Most of the horses scheduled to run in the 2012 Belmont did not race in the Preakness; however, “I’ll Have Another” did. The horse’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, is a relative newcomer. And finally, the horse’s pedigree is undistinguished.
Look, I had hoped, “I’ll Have Another” would be victorious and take the historic Triple Crown. It would have been great for the sport. But he was not a sure bet, and today’s news adds one more variable to a mounting list that began to accumulate after Affirmed won it in 1978.