Belmont Stakes 2012 Results: I'll Have Another's Absence Leaves Legacy Intact

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 09:  Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another is walked to the track before a retirement ceremony before the start of the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, 2012 in Elmont, New York. The triple crown hopeful is being retired due to an injury.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

We will never know just how good I’ll Have Another is and that’s just fine.

Like a cliffhanger ending to a riveting movie or a TV series going out at its peak popularity, we’ll never know if the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner was worthy of the immortality that comes with the illustrious Triple Crown.

I’ll Have Another missed out on the chance to be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, and 12th of all-time.

It’s a horrible event for the sport, but it leaves the mystique of the horse intact. We’ll always be playing the “what if?” game with the colt.

With the odd week I’ll Have Another had leading up to the event, led by a wild horse narrowly avoiding the prized horse in training, there were multiple reasons to believe I’ll Have Another was going to lose the race anyway. There is a reason only 11 horses have completed the feat.

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08:  I'll Have Another is walked back to his barn from the detention barn on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York. It was announced earlier in the day that the horse has been scratched from the 2012 Belmont Stakes, ending his bid for a Tripl
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The fact that he drew the 11th post position didn’t help him either. Since 1905, only two horses from that position have ever won the race according to records of the New York Racing Association.

It’s the most grueling stretch a horse could face, and the odds were not in his favor.

Union Rags ran an outstanding race, and running from the No. 3 post position, he had a clear advantage. One of the Derby favorites took the Preakness off to rest and seemed incredibly fresh as he breezed through the narrow opening on the rail to secure the win.

I’m not saying I’ll Have Another couldn’t have blown him away, but everything leading up to the race was not in his favor.

Now that he is retired we are left wondering what could have happened. I’ll Have Another left the sport on top, leaving an eternity of debate behind him. 

                                          2012 Belmont Results

Finish Horse PP Trainer Jockey
1 Union Rags 3 M. Matz J. Velazquez
2 Paynter 9 B. Baffert M. Smith
3 Atigun 4 K. McPeek J. Leparoux
4 Street Life 1 C. Brown J. Lezcano
5 Five Sixteen 7 D. Schettino R. Napravnik
6 Unstoppable U 2 K. McPeek J. Alvarado
7 Dullahan 5 D. Romans J. Castellano
8 My Adonis 12 K. Breen R. Dominguez
9 Ravelo's Boy 6 M. Azpurua A. Solis
10 Optimizer 10 D. Lukas C. Nakatani
11 Guyana Star Dweej 8 D. Shivmangal K. Desormeaux