In light of the news today that chestnut thoroughbred I’ll Have Another–a fan favorite for the Triple Crown, would be dropping out of the Belmont Stakes–owner J. Paul Reddam scheduled a 1 p.m. press conference at the track. Here is how it went down:
The press announcer came on the loudspeaker at 12:55 and told everyone to keep their voices down because of the horses in the stable. “If anyone is yelling their press credentials will be revoked.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill came to the stage and announced that I’ll Have Another has officially retired due to an injury this morning. “As you can see, the horse is fine,” he said, as the press was shown the horse being hosed down and trotting.
“This is extremely tough for all of us. Though it’s far from tragic, no one died or anything like that, it’s extremely disappointing. I feel so sorry for the whole team. We’ve had such an amazing run.”
So what was the issue? O’Neill said that the team noticed a “loss of definition” in the horse’s front leg on Thursday, but took him out to the track this morning after the swelling went down.
Owner J. Paul Reddam came out and explained that the horse ran fine this morning, but Mr. O’Neill noticed inflammation (possibly due to the scratch that he referred to in the Dan Patrick Show), and recommended calling the vet. “The issue with the horse seemed to be tendentious in his left front leg,” Mr. Reddam told the crowd.
Someone asked if this was different than a bowed tendon.
“We would never have a horse race on a bowed tendon,” Mr Reddam replied.
“You could give him three-to-six months and start back with him,” with Mr. O’Neill admitted, but said that the team unanimously decided to retire I’ll Have Another.
Mr. Reddam also told the press that the horse could have ridden tomorrow, but they want to exercise caution. “He’s not lame, he could have run,” the owner said somewhat regretfully. “We have to do what’s best for the horse. If he can’t compete at the top level – he’s done enough. History is going to have to wait for another day.”
Mr. Reddam also told viewers that he would be in the stands tomorrow, but “only as a fan.”