I’ll Have Another, which won the Kentucky Derby last month and the Preakness Saturday, is ready to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Well, that is, if you listen to trainer Doug O’Neill.
”Bring it on! We’re ready to go. Super pumped!” O’Neill said as he held Sunday. ”I can’t put into words how incredible it is. We’re just on Cloud 9. It’s super exciting.”
Twelve times has a horse captured the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but failed in the Belmont. The prospect that has not been considered yet by O’Neill. The Belmont Stakes is on June 9.
”It’s hasn’t completely sunk in yet,” he said. ”The party out here at the barn after the race was like, wow! I’ve never seen anything like that – everyone so excited about horse racing and I’ll Have Another being 2-for-2. I definitely feel the energy and buzz in the air.”
Jockey Steve Cauthen, who rode Affirmed to the three coveted victories, said he sees similarities in his history-making horse and I’ll Have Another.
”Horses that seem to come out of their races pretty well, it means they don’t bother themselves, and that’s a huge benefit when you’ve got three tough races,” Cauthen told The Associated Press. ”It’s like three title fights in five weeks. You are taking on the best around. With Affirmed, he always did the right thing. He didn’t waste any energy. And when it came down to a battle, he thrived on it.
”This horse looks like he’s got that fighting spirit. He likes a game, and he wants to win and he can’t wait to get another battle. He thrives on it and to me that’s why more than anything he’s got a good chance.”