I’ll Have Another showed heart of champion in Preakness win

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As they turned for home my buddy Syl, who was sitting next to me in the race book, says Bodemeister is gone. As they were midway down the stretch, I had to agree.

Bode had a three length lead and there was no way the only horse with a shot at him (I’ll Have Another) was going to catch up this time at Pimlico. But somehow, someway, displaying the courage of a true champ Another closed relentlessly and caught Bode at the wire to win by a neck.

A great finish!

Bodemeister and the Baffert crew have waved the white flag and will pass on the Belmont Stakes (Saturday, June 9), giving his horse a needed break.

I’ll Have Another headed to Belmont on Sunday in an unprecedented move by trainer Doug O’Neill, who has managed this colt to perfection.

We don’t know the new shooters in the Belmont but will probably see Union Rags taking another shot along with the wise guy colt Dullahan. After those two we will just wait and see. I do hope we have a full field. I have my reasons and they will follow.

In two weeks I will pen my Belmont column, hoping for a full field and a fast track. Why do I want a full field?

There have been 11 Triple Crown winners:

1919: Sir Barton.

1930: Gallant Fox

1932: Omaha

1937: War Admiral

1941: Whirlaway

1943: Count Fleet (won by 25 lengths)

1946: Assault

1948: Citation.

1973: Secretariat (won by 31 lengths)

1977: Seattle Slew (undefeated)

1978: Affirmed (three close wins over Alydar)

That’s the magnificent 11. Now why do I want a full Belmont field? Well, I would like to see at least 12 horses line up for the Belmont, with I’ll Have Another coming out of post position 12. That would put my full force of numbers into play.

There have been 11 horses since Affirmed that have gone to Belmont Park with a shot at the Triple Crown – Spectacular Bid, Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Charismatic, Real Quiet, who got snapped on the line; Silver Charm, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown.

It is 2012 and the number 12 is the big number we are dealing with. I’ll Have Another will either be the 12th winner of the Triple Crown or the 12th loser since Affirmed to fall short.

That number will be even more significant if he gets post position 12. Herman Cain, who was making a run for president, had the 9-9-9 plan.

I, your humble correspondent, have unveiled the 12-12-12 running of the Belmont Stakes.

NOTE: Rich Rose and Lou DiAmico from the Bad Beat radio show join me as hosts for a little gala of handicapping the Belmont and the late pick four on Belmont Day at Jerry’s Nugget.

We’ll all be in the race book so come down; if not to join in on the Belmont, come down for the carving station Mark Dufty will be setting up.

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