ELMONT, N.Y. | Triple Crown or not, there’s something iconic about the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blaring as horses take the track for the post parade at the Belmont Stakes. It will be surreal Saturday as I’ll Have Another won’t be racing after being retired with injury, but he will lead the post parade in what the New York Racing Association called a “ceremonial tribute.”
“I love that idea. They mentioned it and I’m all for it. Yeah, that’d be cool,” trainer Doug O’Neill said mid-Friday afternoon outside the Garden Terrace at Belmont Park. “I don’t know the final details, but, yeah, him and Lava Man leading the post parade … I would be so proud.”
Jockey Mario Gutierrez will be aboard, just as he would be if he and I’ll Have Another were seeking to capture the Triple Crown. But that’s the end of the road.
Gutierrez took the news hard, according to owner Paul Reddam.
“He was sad for the horse, really,” Reddam said. “He has just had a tremendous bonding with I’ll Have Another, as everybody saw him on the track, and his concern was 100 percent for the welfare of the horse and he expressed in the end no disappointment for him not getting a chance to run the Belmont.”
I’ll Have Another suffered a tendon injury in his left front leg that was noticed at first Thursday and then again after his gallop Friday. He will never race again.
Dr. Larry Bramlage, the on-call vet for the Triple Crown, called I’ll Have Another’s presence leading the post parade “an illustration of the character of his injury.”
“It is absolutely of no concern for sub-maximal exercise but would be a concern at a mile-and-a-half at full speed,” Bramlage said in a statement. “Therefore, I have no concern for his appearance on the racetrack at the head of the Belmont Field.”