I’ll Have Another has done it again.
In the 2012 Preakness, the prized horse was jockeyed by Mario Gutierrez to a last-second finish over Bodemeister at Pimlico. With that victory, the Belmont Stakes will have its first Triple Crown contender since 2008.
Where does I’ll Have Another rank amongst other Triple Crown contenders in the past decade? Let's take look.
(In ascending order)
4. Funny Cide (2003)
Funny Cide, a New York-bred horse trained by Barclay Tagg would go onto win the Kentucky Derby by one and three-quarter lengths, and the Preakness by nine lengths, defeating Peace Rules both times. A win at the Belmont wasn’t meant to be; he would finish in third, five lengths behind the winner Empire Maker. Funny Cide retired in 2007 finishing with 11 wins in 38 starts.
3. Big Brown (2008)
In 2008 Big Brown, a brown colt ridden by Kent Desormeaux, overcame many historical trends to contend for the Triple Crown.
In the Kentucky Derby, Big Brown became the first horse since 1915 to win with only three starts to his name. As a heavy favorite at the Preakness, Big Brown would have an encore performance with a five and one-quarter length victory.
Along with Majestic Prince (1969), Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (1977) and Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown was heralded as the fourth undefeated Derby and Preakness winner.
2. I’ll Have Another (2012)
The prized horse I’ll Have Another and his jockey Mario Gutierrez have made a habit out of comeback victories in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
The horse and its jockey outlasted early-race record holder Bodemeister to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness by smaller margins than all of the previous TC contenders. Although his margins of victory have not been impressive, I’ll Have Another has had to ward off faster contenders than most of the others on this list. Hence, why Saturday's Preakness winner takes the No. 2 spot.
While they’re surely excited to be a part of this list today, I’ll Have Another still has a chance to make history and join an illustrious list of horses. He is only a Belmont Stakes victory away from being the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
1. Smarty Jones (2004)
At the Belmont, in what would turn out to be his final race, Smarty was ahead with a quarter mile to go, but 36-1 long shot Birdstone passed him in the final furlong. The John Servis-trained thoroughbred finished his racing career with eight wins from nine starts.
Due to his fabulous pedigree, Smarty Jones gets the nod over I’ll Have Another, Big Brown and Funny Cide. This year’s Preakness winner, however, might not be on this list in three weeks.