Belmont Stakes 2012: Injury Forces I'll Have Another to Scratch

Robin Jutkiewicz@EllaMentryBRCorrespondent IIIJune 8, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08: Belmont entrant and Triple Crown hopeful, I'll Have Another is bathed following morning workouts in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York. I'll Have Another withdrew from the race due to a leg front leg problem. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What a difference a day makes.

On Friday, trainer Doug O'Neill announced on The Dan Patrick Show that his colt, I'll Have Another, has sustained an injury, and he is pulling the horse out of the Belmont Stakes. A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. This announcement comes only 24 hours after O'Neill claimed his horse was in good shape and ready to run.

Over the past weeks, I'll Have Another has been heavily favored as a potential Triple Crown winner after a stunning finish at the Kentucky Derby and squeaking out a win in the Preakness Stakes.

In his interview, O'Neill expressed disappointment but doesn't consider the situation dire as far as the future health of his horse is concerned. The news leaves the door open for the likes of Dullahan and Union Rags, whose odds are running 5-1 and 6-1, respectively.

While racing fans will be bummed out that yet another potential Triple Crown champion is falling by the wayside, the fact that the horse is being scratched makes it all that much sadder. It's one thing to be beaten on the track, it's something else to not ever get a shot at immortality.

The remaining contenders may be happy about the situation as it applies to their own horses, but no one can feel anything but cheerless that they won't have the chance to race against I'll Have Another and prove their horses are worthy opponents.

As for O'Neill, when asked by Dan Patrick if this would be the last horse he ever races, the trainer replied, "If I had to wager...I would say yes."

How will this news affect race day and viewership in a sport that has been plagued with problems? We'll find out on Saturday.