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'I'll have another' lives up to title with second win

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It was close, but it was a clear victory for the aptly titled I'll Have Another. Waiting a bit little longer to catch Bodemeister in the stretch, I'll Have Another has won twice in a row. It's now time for a Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes. The smooth-striding colt won the Preakness Stakes by a neck at Pimlico Race Course this weekend, described as a nail-biter of a finish that topped his win two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The race unfolded the same way as the Derby, with the speedy Bodemeister moving to the lead under Mike Smith, with I'll Have Another hanging back in fourth in the 11-horse field.

When it came time for Bodemeister to hang on, I'll Have Another found another gear under young jockey Mario Gutierrez and ran down trainer Bob Baffert's horse down to the wire.

"We're thinking Triple Crown, baby," an elated trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He's a special horse. We'll see how he comes out of it, and if he comes out of it in good shape, we're heading to New York, baby."

It's been 34 long years since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become the 11th and most recent Triple Crown champion.

Eleven horses since then have only won the first two legs only to come up short in the Belmont. The most recent try came in 2008, when Big Brown was pulled up around the turn for home and did not finish. Smarty Jones was run down in the final 70 yards by Birdstone in the 2004 Belmont previously.

Two victories have thrust the colorful and controversial O'Neill squarely into the limelight, scrutiny is sure to intensify about his violations for giving his horses improper drugs. He was fined $1,000 and suspended 15 days in one incident, and is contesting another.

"We know we play by the rules," O'Neill said. "It's all about the horse, and we're just going to focus on the horse."

I'll Have Another may have a Triple Crown in his future. Affirmed won the Derby by the identical 1 1/2 lengths over Alydar, and then beat his rival by the same neck margin in the Preakness.

"I didn't feel confident we were going to get there until 10 yards from the wire," owner J. Paul Reddam said.

I'll Have Another, sent off as the second choice at 3-1 over 8-5 favorite Bodemeister, covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.94. The winner returned $8.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Bodemeister returned $3.20 and $2.80, and Creative Cause paid $3.60 to show.

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