Five Reasons Why it Will Happen
1. I’ll Have Another is for Real – There is no way in the world you can question his talent or heart now! I’ll Have Another is the best horse in the country right now. His Preakness Stakes time was two seconds faster that Alternation’s final time in the Pimlico Special. He’s easily the best three-year old since Big Brown or Curlin.
2. The Horse is Fairly Fresh – Even though this will be his third race in five weeks, his preps leading up to the Triple Crown were spaced out very well. There is no way you can call him extremely fresh, but considering what he’s been through he comes in fresher than most others that have tried it. Plus, if you believe all the reports, this horse is full of energy. Bounces are always hard to predict, but it certainly doesn’t look like that will be an issue.
3. Mario Gutierrez – You’d think having a young jockey would hurt his chances, but he has given the horse two flawless rides so far. The pressure will continue to mount on Gutierrez, but I believe he’ll handle it. The formula has been simple so far. Keep him out of trouble and let him go to work. I expect no changes in the Belmont.
4. Bodemeister Won’t Be Running – He’s obviously proved he’s better than Bodemeister and can handle him, but Bodemesiter not running just helps his chances even more. These two horses ran away from the Preakness field, so there isn’t much doubt they are well clear of the others in the group right now. Bodemeister not being there makes the spot softer than if he was.
5. Breeding Looks Solid – You never know if a horse can get the mile and a half distance, but I’ll Have Another is bred to run long. The bottom line is breeding can only take you so far, but it’s nice to have it on your side.
Five Reasons Why it Might Not
1. Dullahan, Union Rags, Paynter, ect – Even though Bodemeister won’t be there, it’s still not going to be easy. Dullahan ran a great race in the Kentucky Derby, and will be fresh. We still don’t know just how good Union Rags is this year, but we know that he was once thought of as unbeatable. He looms dangerous in this one. Paynter is another Zayat owned horse that has plenty of talent. A field of twelve is expected as of right now.
2. The Distance – It’s the ultimate wild card. We can talk distance, running styles, ect, but the bottom line is this: We have no idea who can get it and who can’t.
3. The Weather – While the mile and a half distance can wreak havoc, the weather is another big question mark. If it rains, who knows what will happen. We have no idea how I’ll Have Another would handle slop, or anyone else for that matter. Go back and look at Belmont results on a sloppy track. The prices can get wild. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we get a nice day with a fast track.
4. No Nasal Strip – I’ll Have Another will not be able to wear his nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes because New York racing doesn’t allow them. Right now this is being down-played, but its going to be a factor I believe. If it doesn’t make a difference like some are saying, then why has he been wearing it in the first place? This equipment change is something to be taken seriously.
5. The Belmont Track – There is no doubt that Belmont’s track can play different from any other track. Some horses just don’t care for it. I love that I’ll Have Another is already there and will be training over it for three weeks, but you still never know how he’ll handle the surface.