The thoroughbred racehorse that was given the best chance of any horse in years to win the elusive Triple Crown won’t get its shot, as I’ll Have Another has been retired due to a tendon injury, The Huffington Post reports.
Trainer Doug O’Neill made the announcement today, revealing that I’ll Have Another has been pulled from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes and is being retired. The horse won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness earlier this year.
No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978. Since that time 12 horses — including I’ll Have Another — have won the first two races but failed to win the Belmont.
I’ll Have Another was the 4-5 favorite for the Belmont before the scratch.
The story reports: “The scratch marks the first time since Bold Venture in 1936 that the Derby and Preakness winner didn’t run in the Belmont. Burgoo King skipped the race in 1932.”
"It’s been an incredible ride, an incredible run," O’Neill said. "It’s a bummer. It’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment."
“O’Neill said the swollen left front tendon was the beginning of tendonitis, which could have taken six months to treat, and so the popular horse was retired,” the story reports.
One loser in the wake of I’ll Have Another’s injury is NBC, which is carrying the Belmont and hoped the chance for a Triple Crown winner would boost ratings.
NBC issued a statement after news broke that the horse was scratched. Adam Freifeld, VP Communications, NBC Sports Group, said: “While we are obviously disappointed that our show won’t feature I’ll Have Another going for the elusive Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is still an iconic event on the sports schedule, and the NBC Sports Group broadcasts will treat it as such. We’re working now to adjust the game plan accordingly.”