NEW YORK — I’ll Have Another’s bid for a Triple Crown ended with the shocking news that the colt was out of the Belmont Stakes because of a swollen left front tendon.
According to Dennis O’Neill, the trainer’s brother, the horse galloped Friday morning and after a veterinary scan, the tendon seemed “kind of tender.”
O’Neill told The Associated Press that “the horse is sound and happy, but it’s not worth it.”
A press conference has been scheduled for 1 p.m.
Trainer Doug O’Neill had taken the horse out for a final gallop in secrecy the day before the race.
O’Neill had said the decision was made to bring his Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to the track shortly after 5:30 a.m. Friday to avoid congestion around the detention barn housing the 12 horses entered for the Belmont. The colt jogged and then galloped around the 1½-mile oval accompanied by stable pony Lava Man.
“It’s been very hectic the last few days, so we thought we would take him out when it’s quieter,” O’Neill said in a statement released by the New York Racing Association. “The detention barn setup with all 12 of the horses going out at the same time has been a little bit hectic.”
After a loose horse nearly collided with I’ll Have Another on the track last week, NYRA established a 15-minute window, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., for just Belmont horses to be on the track.
O’Neill earlier had declared his colt “fit and ready to go.”
“We are just trying to let him bring as much energy to the table tomorrow as possible,” he added. “We thought giving him an easy day the day before would be a good move. He stayed with coach Lava Man just to keep everything off-speed. I was very pleased with it. Perfect. We are ready to roll.”
I’ll Have Another had been trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.