I’ll Have Another, who has developed a habit of running down the odds, will get a chance to chase the Triple Crown.
We haven’t had a winner in horse racing’s Triple Crown since 1978 and there may be an interesting omen there.
But we won’t have the full dramatics.
In this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness, I’ll Have Another closed fast and brilliantly to nip favored Bodemeister at the wire for victory. That rundown occurred twice just as Bodemeister seemed to have command of the race.
Those two races brought back memories of other stretch duels — between Affirmed and Alydar the last time there was a Triple Crown champion.
The two thoroughbreds engaged each other in some of the fun and most exciting seies of major races in history with Affirmed holding off a fast-charging Alydar every time — by 1 1/2 lengths in the Derby, a neck in the Preakness and a nose in the Belmont.
There’ll be excitement for the Belmont but it won’t be the same because one part of the racing tango won’t be there.
Bodemeister is apparently passing up the Belmont. Its handlers are basically conceding that it cannot beat I’ll Have Another.
That’s because the Preakness set up almost perfectly for Bodemeister to win. I’ll Have Another broke from a far gate. Bodemeister ran its ran and the distance appeared perfect. He was nicely positioned in the stretch, had the victory in hand and got passed.
I’ll Have Another may be one of those special horses. But winning all three races within a few weeks is becoming tougher and more demanding. It’s a lot harder to do than in 1978.
Can I’ll Have Another do it one more time?
There will be drama. Too bad a main character will be missing.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or email@example.com)