I'll Have Another: Why Triple Crown Is a Lock for Preakness Winner

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19:  Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike 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

Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another came back down the stretch Saturday to clinch a victory at Preakness. This win was a late overtake of the lead by I'll Have Another on Bodemeister in similar fashion to what happened at the Kentucky Derby.

With wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, I'll Have Another has put itself into position to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. The way it has been running races, there is a high possibility I'll Have Another is a good bet to take at The Belmont.

In both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Bodemeister led the race down the stretch. Similarly, both times saw I'll Have Another's late surge steal a victory from Bodemeister. If history means anything here, we will see this again at Belmont.

Jockey Mario Gutierrez has managed his horse beautifully thus far, even though it may be giving those who bet on him and I'll Have Another a heart attack. He demands a strong finish from his horse, and luckily, he has been getting that.

Belmont is a longer course than Preakness—Belmont is 12 furlongs and Preakness is 9.5 furlongs. Seeing how I'll Have Another has been closing races in the shorter courses, one has to think that in a longer track it would dominate.

Late speed is key in I'll Have Another's victories, and if opposing horses fade down the stretch while I'll Have Another is surging, it will be a lock for a Triple Crown.

One could argue that Bodemeister may again be top competition for I'll Have Another, but seeing how it has given up leads in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, I would say that its chances are slim. Expect a Triple Crown winner come June 9 for the first time in the 21st century.