Possessing a moniker familiar to infield revelers and non-racing fans alike, I’ll Have Another will be a popular favorite to duplicate his Kentucky Derby performance in the Preakness Stakes, second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course.
With the shift in action to Baltimore, talk of a potential Triple Crown sweep always arises, unless the results of the Derby are seemingly fluky. From this angle, it appears I’ll Have Another’s victory was no such thing. However, 18 horses have won two-thirds of the Triple Crown since Affirmed last turned the trick in 1978, which suggests none of the three classics can be taken for granted.
From the viewpoint of one who did not have I’ll Have Another on his radar much Derby week, there were general concerns going in about his relative ability and the kind of trip he would receive at Churchill Downs.
Even though he was two-for-two this season before the Run for the Roses, I’ll Have Another’s final prep in the Santa Anita Derby was not especially fast. Of course, the same could have been said of virtually every horse in the race with the exception of Bodemeister, but the recent futility of Santa Anita Derby winners in the Kentucky Derby (none since Sunday Silence in 1989 had swept both races) perhaps had an added subconscious effect on our judgment.