I'll Have Another didn't have much time to savor the sweet flavor of his Kentucky Derby victory and figures to be all the better for it.
The Reddam Racing product arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday to settle in and begin preparations for the Preakness Stakes, which is set for May 19th.
It's unusual for any horse, much less a Triple Crown contender, to show up in Baltimore so soon after leaving the track at Churchill Downs. In fact, I'll Have Another is the first Derby winner in more than a decade to make the trek to Pimlico within a week of vacating the Commonwealth.
Why so soon for I'll Have Another?
Will the early arrival help or hurt I'll Have Another's chances?
Simple—it's a matter of distance. Doug O'Neill, I'll Have Another's California-based trainer, doesn't have a stable in Kentucky. As such, the decision to send his colt to Charm City was a no-brainer. Aside from avoiding an unnecessary long-distance shlep across the country, making the move so early will give I'll Have Another plenty of time to acclimate himself to his next course.
O'Neill isn't expected to join his horse in Baltimore until Thursday. In the meantime, I'll Have Another has been under the watchful eye of assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, who likes what he's seen from the horse so far:
He looks like he never ran. He's eaten everything up. He wants to get out of the barn. He's quiet once he's in there, but once he's out, it's like, 'OK, I want to go out to the track now.' That's something we want to see. After a race, especially one like the Kentucky Derby, you're always wondering if it has taken something out of him, but he's doing fantastic.
Of course, none of this at all guarantees that I'll Have Another will win the Preakness and keep alive the dream of becoming the first colt to claim the coveted Triple Crown since Affirmed took home the treble in 1978.
That being said, that extra bit of rest that comes from eliminating the stress of movement early on can't hurt his chances. If he's in this good of shape now, he'll be an even better bet to finish in front of the field in 10 days' time.