I'll Have Another
I'll Have Another, (foaled on the 1st of April, 2009) is an American thoroughbred racehorse, and the winner of the 138th Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs on Saturday the 5th of May, 2012.
Originally marked up at odds of 15-1 by such respected websites as www.KentuckyDerbyBetting.com, the colt, expertly ridden by Mario Gutierrez, powered to victory in the legendary jewel in the American horse racing calendar crown. Taking the Kentucky derby betting market by storm, this colt's race thrilled the record attendance crowd at the racecourse, and racing fans around the world.
With thunderstorms over the Race Track on the morning of the derby itself, initial worries about course condition proved unfounded, and the tension built for what would prove to be a lightning finish.
In an exciting race, I'll Have Another made a confident start from gate number 19, and ran well in the midfield for the majority of the event. Untroubled by the pace set by the frontrunners, the thoroughbred was always well-placed. As the leaders turned on to the home straight, the eventual winner quickened and surged forward to catch and pass the second-place Bodemeister for a compelling sprint finish, and a historic win.
Mario Gutierrez, riding in his first Kentucky Derby, was clearly delighted with the performance his steed gave. The horse just seemed to have more to give than the competitors, even with the flat-out pace that had been maintained throughout. Superior stamina and strength was shown by the young horse, claiming the top spot with an inspiring turn of speed.
Trained by the controversial and sometimes outspoken Michigan-born trainer Doug O'Neill, it was clear that the horse was in great form and beautiful condition. The early potential of the horse was recognized by California-based owner J. Paul Reddam, who paid $35,000 for the then two-year-old. This would turn out to be a relative bargain for a colt with such an impressive Pedigree.
News of the remarkable win was reported across the world with the New York Times calling it "one of the most unlikely victories in the 138 runnings of America's greatest horse race". While these sentiments were true, keen horse racing observers could point to signs of greatness previously shown.
Looking to Past Performance there was every indication that this horse would be one to watch. Entering his debut race in July 2011, the colt rode out a clear winner and the scene was set for a memorable, yet ultimately brief career. Earning strong finishes in some challenging races, the horse progressed to winning the Santa Anita derby in April 2012, just edging out the hot-favorite Creative Cause by a nose.
As confidence grew, the decision was made to enter the stallion in the prestigious Triple Crown races, and after cementing his reputation in the Kentucky Derby, I'll Have Another went on to win in the Preakness Stakes on the 19th of May, 2012.
Hopes were high in horse racing circles that there would be a Triple Crown winner that year, but sadly that was not to be. On the morning before the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, O'Neill confirmed that the horse had been diagnosed with an injury to the tendon, and thus could not take part in the race. Fans and race enthusiasts were left to wonder what might have been. For this particular thoroughbred, the horse racing games were over.
I'll Have Another was formally retired and sent out to stud at Big Red Farm in Hokkaido, Japan, after a $10 million bid was agreed. Reddam claimed not to have received acceptable offers from US horse racing stud farms, and had little choice but to send him overseas. It was certainly a shrewd move on Reddam's part, and represents a huge profit on his initial investment.
In recognition of his achievements, I'll Have Another was honored as the Best Three-Year Old Male at the 2012 Eclipse Awards, held in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. DRF.com rightfully hailed him as "the overwhelming favorite".
As a Kentucky Derby winner, truly, I'll Have Another has earned his place in the books of horse racing history and will be fondly remembered by fans of this sport forever more.