I'll Have Another Seeks History At Belmont Stakes
I'll Have Another will chase history on June 9 when he attempts to become the first horse to win all three legs of the Triple Crown since 1998 at the Belmont Stakes. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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John Velazquez was the winning jockey in the fifth and eighth races at Belmont Racetrack Thursday. He hopes the wins keep coming because he's looking to be a spoiler at the 144th annual Belmont Stakes.
Velazquez expects to race against I'll Have Another, who could become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years and the 12th overall.
"I'm looking forward to beating him," Velasquez said, laughing.
The Hall of Fame jockey is scheduled to ride Union Rags, a horse that many racing fans say he has a good chance of upending I'll Have Another. Velazquez says he won't feel guilty if he wins.
"Even though there is excitement and all the glory about the Triple Crown, now I gotta work against that," he said. "That will be my job, trying to do the best for my team."
The Belmont Stakes is the oldest and longest of the Triple Crown races at a mile and a half in length. Ramon Dominguez, who many say is the top jockey in North America, was hoping to ride Alpha in the race. That won't happen, as he said his horse came up with a fever.
There's also some controversy surrounding the race. I'll Have Another's trainer, Doug O'Neill, was suspended for 45 days last week after one of his other horses tested positive for a performance-enhancing mixture. The suspension won't start until after the Belmont.
"Doug O'Neill had an overage of (carbon dioxide) in the horse's blood," said Richard Migliore, a former jockey and a current New York Racing Association representative. "It was ruled he didn't do anything illegal. It could have been a natural overage. I think it's an unfair misrepresentation of Doug O' Neill and the job that he is doing with I'll Have Another. He's a horse that's never been implicated in anything like this."
The last time a horse won the three races of the Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes) was in 1978. Since then, 11 horses have won the 2 other races, but lost at Belmont.
I'll Have Another hopes to break that streak at the Belmont Stakes on June 9.