I'LL HAVE ANOTHER HOLLYWOOD PARK 7/7/12 FAREWELL
I'LL HAVE ANOTHER's bid to become racing's first Triple Crown winner in 34 years ended with his sudden retirement on the eve of the June 9th Belmont Stakes because of tendinitis in his left front leg. He earlier won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby.
"I think he would have won the Belmont if he had the chance,'' said Gina Romero, a 45-year-old fan from Porter Ranch. ``I'm just glad they put his safety first, that's the most important thing.''
Owner J. Paul Reddam sold the colt to Japanese breeders shortly after passing on the Belmont Stakes. I'LL HAVE ANOTHER entered quarantine on July 8 for 30 days before going to his new home at Big Red Farm on the island of Hokkaido. "It's sad,'' trainer Doug O'Neill said. "We all wanted so badly for him to stay in the United States. I was actually pushing for him to stay in California, but there was just very little interest from breeders here in the U.S. to stand him at stud."
O'Neill plans to take his family to visit the colt in Japan next spring. "He's going to a first-class operation,'' he said. "He's going to get the best mares, he's going to be super well taken care of. We're going to stay on top of everything and make sure if they have any hiccups or any questions, we'll be there to support them.''
Before the races began, fans carrying I'LL HAVE ANOTHER posters, hats, magazines, and Kentucky Derby glasses waited in a long line near the paddock for O'Neill and Gutierrez to sign their souvenirs. "It just tells you how many people really love this horse and how horse racing is still alive,'' O'Neill said. "I know a lot of people want to throw dirt on the sport and through this I've learned that horse racing is still alive. This is an amazing horse that people fell in love with, including us, of course. This is a very special moment for all of us.''
Gutierrez smiled under a giveaway black fedora hat, still happy about the attention and travel opportunities that I'LL HAVE ANOTHER's success created for him. "He absolutely took me to places and made my dreams come real. For that I will be grateful my whole life,'' the jockey said. ``He's going for his second career, he's not hurt, he's happy and healthy. Now we hopefully can see in the future one of his babies running and competing in the big races too.''
"Looking back at the great year he gave us, it's really a time for all of us to celebrate just a wonderful horse and what he did for all of us,'' trainer Doug O'Neill said. "It's been nothing but joy.''
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|