There have been many famous chestnuts to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Horses like Whirlaway and Secretariat, two colts that also went on to win the Belmont Stakes and thus become Triple Crown Champions, are among the most notable. With the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes approaching on Saturday, May 19, 2012, the wonderful chestnut I’ll Have Another, winner of the 138th Kentucky Derby, has a chance to take a giant step toward adding his name to the list of famous chestnuts to win the Derby and the Preakness, with a shot at immortality in the Belmont Stakes three weeks following the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland.
Santa Anita Derby winner I’ll Have Another didn’t just win the Kentucky Derby. He won it on a fast track, in brilliant closing fashion in a splendid time of 2:01 ⅘, and in doing so joined a select group of only 25 horses in history that have broken the 2:02 mark in winning the Kentucky Derby. Remember, that’s only 25 times in 138 years, which makes I’ll Have Another an impressive colt. Also, keep in mind that I’ll Have Another is a colt that has been a horse that has thrived mostly on synthetic racing surfaces, which makes his win on the natural dirt track at Churchill Downs that much more impressive.
As a juvenile colt, showed promise in finishing as the runner-up in the Best Pal Stakes, a Grade II racing event held annually at Del Mar Racetrack in August. The winner of that race? Creative Cause, who would develop a bit of an understated, friendly rivalry with I’ll Have Another. After running gamely on the synthetic surface at Del Mar, his last effort as a two-year-old colt was on the natural dirt surface at Saratoga in the historic Hopeful Stakes, a race that many racing immortals, most notably Secretariat, have won. However, I’ll Have Another had a hard time on the sloppy dirt track, and finished sixth in a field of ten horses.
Santa Anita Racetrack is where I’ll Have Another has enjoyed the most success. He came out of the gate flying in his 3-year-old debut, winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in early February despite being the longest shot in the field at 43 to 1. Then he renewed his rivalry with Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby, gaining a measure of revenge over that fine colt by scoring a victory by a scant nose. Bodemeister was trying to win the Derby nearly wire-to-wire, but I’ll Have Another, running supremely confident on the fast dirt track, caught Bodemeister in the deep stretch and won pulling away by a length and a half. Big Brown famously won the Kentucky Derby from post position 20 in 2008. Now I’ll Have Another becomes the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby from post position 19.
The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 19, 2012 will be the next grand stage for I’ll Have Another. One thing he can undoubtedly look forward to is a less crowded field in Baltimore. It’s extremely unlikely that there will be a Preakness field of more than 13 or 14 horses. The reason is simple: because none of the other Preakness Stakes Contenders besides I’ll Have Another has a chance to win the Triple Crown.