Tag Archives: Triple Crown

Doug O’Neill at the Eclipse Awards: “Win, lose or draw, we’re going to have a great time.”

Doug O’Neill discusses his experience on the Triple Crown Trail with I’ll Have Another. Interesting insight into his thoughts on the Eclipse Awards – the voting and the party.

From Ed Golden, Santa Anita press notes:

Doug O’Neill is nothing if not a realist. If he had his druthers, he would love it if I’ll Have Another is named 2012’s Horse of the Year when the Eclipse Award winners are announced at Gulfstream Park a week from Saturday on Jan. 19.

But the 44-year-old trainer of the only winner of three Grade I races on dirt last year–the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes–realizes full well that voters chronically suffer from short attention span disorder, and since I’ll Have Another didn’t race the final seven months of last year, despite going unbeaten and winning all four of his starts, all stakes, he has virtually no chance to win Horse of the Year honors against the other two finalists, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned and favored Wise Dan.

Despite his vested interest, O’Neill can live with that.dpih

“Obviously, we’re very close to that picture, so it’s hard to be real impartial, but he’s Horse of the Year in our minds,” O’Neill said. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of horse. Anytime you win the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, that’s quite a feat. The horse is a real champion.

“He brought Mario Gutierrez world-wide recognition, and that was huge in itself. I’ll Have Another was great to us and I think great for racing.”

No doubt about that. Now sold and retired to stud in Japan, I’ll Have Another was within a 36-hour countdown of making a bid for a Belmont Stakes victory and racing history by becoming only the 12th Triple Crown winner, when a tendon injury put an end to that quest and ultimately resulted in his retirement.

Rival Horse of the Year finalists Fort Larned and Wise Dan had their day in the sun in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, Fort Larned capturing the Classic and Wise Dan setting a course record of 1:31.78 in winning the Mile. For I’ll Have Another, it was out of sight, out of mind.

“I do think if you’re not running on Breeders’ Cup day, the voters definitely look down on that,” O’Neill said. “Because I’ll Have Another didn’t compete the last half of the year, he wasn’t fresh in their minds.

“Still, it’s an honor to be nominated. We’re all going to Florida and have a fun time. Win, lose or draw, we’re going to have a great time.”

Team O’Neill will take solace with an Eclipse Award for I’ll Have Another as outstanding 3-year-old male of 2012, but O’Neill, never one to count his chickens before they hatch, was prepared in any case.

“We should be good there,” he said, “and if we’re not, that’s OK too.”

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Betting on racing in Nevada? Nah, we don’t need that.

The alarming news broke Monday that betting on horse racing at Nevada sports books is in jeopardy because of a contract dsipute. Here’s a link to the article published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.


The news was met with a ho-hum reaction on the Internet. The date the contract expires is July 31. That’s today.

Hello? Is anyone home?

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Will Bodemania give way to Paynter Pandemonium?


They crowded Bodemeister with cameras and followed the colt’s every move as he challenged I’ll Have Another along the Triple Crown trail. A true Bob Baffert throwback, he’d race to the lead and try his best to hold on, always getting caught in the final strides.

Bodemeister has been a star since he turned heads with his dominating Arkansas Derby romp. There’s some competition brewing in the Baffert training camp, however, with another front-running quarterback . . .colt, that is. . . in Paynter.

Paynter showed his mettle with a gutsy second behind rail-riding Union Rags in the Belmont. While considered the bench player during the early phase of the Triple Crown, he proved he belongs in the Grade 1 big leagues and is now considered one of the top prospects in his division.


Now the question remains: Who is the starting passer in Baffert’s 3-year-old rotation?

Lest we not forget that Baffert thought from the start that Paynter, overall, was the better runner.

The pressure has increased on Bodemeister since a fever knocked him off his training schedule and kept him out of the Haskell. He’ll return soon, but look who took his place in the Haskell lineup: Paynter.

It could be the final determination will be settled in a head-to-head battle on the track.

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If Jay Bilas can be Big East commish, can Kenny Mayne be horse racing’s czar?

Mayne with Baffert

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino set social media into a frenzy with his post suggesting television commentator Jay Bilas would make the perfect Big East commissioner. No, really, that’s what he said.

Pitino’s words, from his web site: “He has charisma, knows T.V., has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam.”

This forward thinking elicits an idea for the troubled world of horse racing. Instead of turning to the industry insiders for needed leadership, why not look to one of our media stars? ESPN’s Kenny Mayne fits the bill.

He has all the qualities Pitino mentioned – well, we’re not sure about any legal background – and could turn an objective eye to the important issues facing racing today. If anything, the quarterly reports would be fun to read.

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