I'll Have Another: Why Horse Will Win First Triple Crown Since 1978

Ryan Phillips@@RumorsandRantsContributor IIIMay 20, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19:  Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike E. Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

I'll Have Another did it again Saturday, turning on the jets down the stretch and overtaking Bodemeister at the finish to win the Preakness. The race was almost a replay of the Kentucky Derby, as the colt ridden by Mario Gutierrez came from behind for the victory.

With the first two legs out of the way, I'll Have Another is poised to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

The Preakness appeared to be the toughest test for I'll Have Another, since he strength is a late-race kick that is almost shockingly strong. His late charge at Churchill Downs was a sight to behold, and with that strong finishing speed, it seems that long tracks would fit his style much better. 

But at Pimlico he somehow pulled out another win on the 9.5 furlong track.

Like the Derby, Bodemeister led almost the entire way, but I'll Have Another hung close, just in striking distance. Then, as they rounded on to the home stretch, Gutierrez asked for and received everything his horse had.

Now with the Belmont Stakes looming on June 9, I'll Have Another is poised to complete the Triple Crown. The Belmont is a monstrously long track at 12 furlongs, but with his ability to close, I'll Have Another appears perfectly suited for the task. 

The horse is also on an incredible run, having won four races in a row. Though he has never conquered a track as long as the Belmont, there doesn't seem to be anyone in his age group that can turn on the speed late like I'll Have Another can. 

Bodemeister appeared to be the top competition for I'll Have Another at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. And in each race he faded down the stretch while I'll Have Another charged to a win. 

At the Belmont, I don't think anyone will be able to contend with I'll Have Another down the stretch, which means he should capture the first Triple Crown in 34 years.