I’ll Have Another hasn’t missed a beat settling in at Belmont Park before the last leg of the USA Triple Crown.
After powering home in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the Doug O’Neill trained colt was floated from Baltimore to New York to be prepared for the Belmont Stakes (2400m) on June 9.
I’ll Have Another (3c Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith by Arch) will bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. “He looks fantastic,” assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said. “He ate everything up and walked the shed-row when we got here. He came out of the Preakness fantastic, just like the Derby. He just takes everything into stride.”
O’Neill returned to his California base following the Preakness and is scheduled to arrive early next week to supervise the Flower Alley colt’s remaining training.
I’ll Have Another carries a four-race winning streak into the Belmont having started the year with wins in the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes and G1 Santa Anita Derby.
Since 1919, when Sir Barton became the first to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, only 11 horses have managed to sweep all three races, most recently in 1978 when Affirmed beat archrival Alydar by a head in the Belmont.
Since then, the Belmont’s 2400 metre test has tripped up the likes of Sunday Silence (1989), War Emblem (2002) and most recently Big Brown (2008).
Trainer Ken McPeek, who prepared Sarava to defeat War Emblem a decade ago, will saddle up Atigun on Saturday week. A colt by Istan, he won an allowance at Churchill Downs recently.