BELMONT, N.Y. – Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another put in a fourth solid gallop over Belmont Park’s main track Monday morning as Team O’Neill began planning some extracurricular activities during the lead up to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.
As I’ll Have Another is scheduled to do each day before the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion,” the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner went to the track shortly after the renovation break, jogged a half-mile and galloped a mile.
“If any of you guys got a chance to see him, I think he’s maintained his energy level and his stride, and he looks fantastic,” said trainer Doug O’Neill at his daily press briefing. “Today the track was, according to the crew, at its deepest and most tiring, so it was good to get him over that, and he recovered very quickly and drank a very little bit of water. So he’s fit, and we have to stay lucky and stay injury-free and we’ll be in great shape.”
O’Neill, who said he was hoping to attend a taping of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in Manhattan, revealed that he, jockey Mario Gutierrez, and owner J. Paul Reddam, had been invited by Jessica Steinbrenner to throw out the first pitch when the New York Mets play the New York Yankees on the eve of the June 9 Belmont Stakes.
“If all goes well they asked us the day before the Belmont to have Mario, Paul and I, to symbolize the Triple Crown, to have all three of us throw it out,” he said. “What a huge honor it is. That should be a blast.”
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Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Dullahan arrived at Belmont Park at approximately 6:30 Monday morning to finish preparations for his attempt to spoil I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown bid in the June 9 Belmont Stakes.
“He’ll jog in the morning, gallop a few days, and breeze on Saturday,” said trainer Dale Romans of the Donegal Racing color-bearer. “He came out of the Derby in great shape. He’s happy, fresh, [and the race] didn’t seem to knock him out any. He has the extra time between races, and he’s doing great.”
Romans will remain in New York through the Belmont Stakes, the trainer said. Later today, Romans will saddle 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, which also attracted To Honor and Serve, Caleb’s Posse, Saginaw , Caixa Eletronica, and Jackson Bend.