Penny Chenery knows the feeling: In ’72, her Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont, but missed out on the crown, before Secretariat blew us all away in ’73. So is I’ll Have Another more Riva Ridge or Secretariat?
“Back in the ’70s, we were still breeding horses to race them, and so much of the industry now is concentrated on sales, so you breed a precocious, good looking, early speed horse who isn’t equipped to go a mile-and-a-half, or run three hard races in five weeks,” Chenery told the Thoroughbred Times. “We just have a different set of goals with the horses that we breed now and it will take a remarkable individual to complete this. I happen to think that I’ll Have Another can do it.”
Read more from the Thoroughbred Times‘ Joe Nevills, who also checked in with Secretariat’s jockey, Ron Turcotte, and Seattle Slew’s co-owner, Sally Hill, for their thoughts on I’ll Have Another’s prospects.
Meanwhile the Daily Racing Form‘s Jay Hovdey has taken a look at the 11 horses who’ve won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but failed to win the Belmont, since Affirmed last took the crown in ’78:
“Immutable laws aside, explanations abound for the failures of the last 33 years. The horses have not been tested. They’re frail and feeble compared to Thoroughbreds of the past. They worked too fast. They worked too slow. And don’t get folks started about the rides they were given by jockeys caught like deer in the Triple Crown headlights.
“It is to the eternal credit of the game’s most ardent believers that hope for I’ll Have Another abounds. The chorus is in full throat: He’s got the class, the style, the pedigree, and a young jock in Mario Gutierrez who fits him like a glove. If he wins, welcome to history. But if he doesn’t, if the coin toss comes up heads again, he will add a 12th chapter to a poignant collection of Triple Crown what-ifs since the day Affirmed dealt Alydar that final Belmont blow.”
Check out more of Hovdey’s research, including video, at the Daily Racing Form.
Eight days to go…