Triple Crown winner, that is … at least not this year. With the announcement Friday that I’ll Have Another was scratched from today’s Belmont Stakes, you could practically hear the wind being taken out of horse racing’s sails. The winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes is, obviously, the heavy favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. A victory at Belmont Park would have won I’ll Have Another the coveted Triple Crown. And he would have been the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to have a shot at accomplishing that feat.
Sadly, with swelling in the left front leg tendon, the early stages of tendonitis, the three-year-old colt was pulled from the race and retired last night. Following this unfortunate turn of events, I suspect the Belmont, which was expected to draw close to 100,000 people eager to see I’ll Have Another take a run at the elusive Triple Crown, will be a bit of a letdown. The sport is already struggling and having a horse come on like this was a huge momentum builder. Had I’ll Have Another been able to compete and win the Belmont Stakes, it could have been a huge step toward resurrecting horse racing.