Report: I'll Have Another's Injury Was Preexisting

Zach Tirpak@@ZachTirpakContributor IJuly 11, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 09: Doug O'Neill, trainer of I'll Have Another, removes the saddle during a retirement ceremony prior to the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, 2012 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

New developments in the ongoing story involving I'll Have Another were unearthed today. In a recent report written by Joe Drape and Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times, it was reiterated that the Triple Crown hopeful had indeed been suffering from preexisting tendon injuries.

Furthermore, the article exposes the claim of IHA trainer Doug O'Neill, who called the injury "freakish," as being overstated and somewhat false.

According to veterinary records, I'll Have Another's condition was "chronic" and "active."  A veterinarian who reviewed the veterinary records for The New York Times concluded that "osteoarthritis has been with this horse for a period of time."

The other major development cited in the report was the use of painkillers on I'll Have Another following his Preakness victory. Two days before running in the last leg of the Triple Crown, I'll Have Another was injected with "two powerful painkillers as well as a synthetic joint fluid."

This report adds new fuel to a fire of skepticism surrounding O'Neill and his handling of I'll Have Another during the Triple Crown. O'Neill was already known as a trainer who was previously cited for drug violations and has a known high-breakdown rate of horses under his care. In this very legal but possibly harmful handling of I'll Have Another, O'Neill again turns the focus to drugs' influence on thoroughbred racing.

It is a common sentiment that while drugs like Salix, "bute," and other painkillers do not directly enhance performance, they do have a major role in horse racing. While many horses may not be fit to race, they are given drugs to quell effects and symptoms of debilitating ailments.

I'll Have Another was sold to a Japanese farm for $10 million following his retirement earlier this summer.

O'Neill will begin serving a 40-day suspension in August after he decided not to continue with an appeal to the California Horse Racing Board.