by Jon White
November 15, 2018
Can you answer the following trivia question? From the first Daily Racing Form poll in 1936 and continuing on through the Eclipse Awards era that began in 1971, just one 3-year-old male champion has not been sent away as the favorite in at least one of his races at 3. Who was it?
It’s a tough question, right? If you don’t know the answer, to help you out, here is the list of 3-year-old male champions in the DRF poll and Eclipse Awards going back to 1936:
1937 War Admiral*
1943 Count Fleet
1944 By Jimminy
1945 Fighting Step
1950 Hill Prince
1952 One Count
1953 Native Dancer
1954 High Gun
1957 Bold Ruler
1958 Tim Tam
1959 Sword Dancer
1961 Carry Back
1964 Northern Dancer
1965 Tom Rolfe
1968 Stage Door Johnny
1969 Arts and Letters
1971 Canonero II
1972 Riva Ridge
1974 Little Current
1976 Bold Forbes
1977 Seattle Slew
1979 Spectacular Bid
1980 Temperence Hill
1981 Pleasant Colony
1982 Conquistador Cielo
1983 Slew o’Gold
1985 Spend a Buck
1986 Snow Chief
1988 Risen Star
1989 Sunday Silence
1992 A.P. Indy
1993 Prairie Bayou
1994 Holy Bull
1995 Thunder Gulch
1996 Skip Away
1997 Silver Charm
1998 Real Quiet
2001 Point Given
2002 War Emblem
2003 Funny Cide
2004 Smarty Jones
2005 Afleet Alex
2008 Big Brown
2009 Summer Bird
2010 Lookin At Lucky
2011 Animal Kingdom
2012 I’ll Have Another
2013 Will Take Charge
2014 California Chrome
2015 American Pharoah*
2017 West Coast
Okay, which one of the horses on the above list was not the favorite in any of his races that year?
If you say it was I’ll Have Another, give yourself a cigar. If you are like me and don’t smoke, give yourself a great big pat on the back.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER RETURNS TO U.S. FROM JAPAN
After I’ll Have Another was retired from racing in 2012, he began a new career the following year as a sire in Japan. But he is returning to this country to stand at Ballena Vista Farm in California for the 2019 breeding season.
I’ll Have Another raced for Paul and Zillah Reddam. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the chestnut colt won one of three starts as a 2-year-old. I’ll Have Another then was victorious in all four of his races at 3.
I became a big I’ll Have Another fan after he made his 3-year-old debut in Santa Anita’s Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes (nee Santa Catalina Stakes) at 1 1/16 miles in early February. A Rodney Dangerfield in the wagering that day, he went off at over 40-1. Liaison, from the Bob Baffert barn, was sent away as the 3-2 favorite.
Ridden for the first time by Mario Gutierrez, I’ll Have Another stalked the early pace and came home strongly to win the Lewis by 2 3/4 lengths. He paid $88.60 for a $2 win ticket. I’ll Have Another completed his 1 1/16-mile journey in 1:40.84.
I’ll Have Another’s final time in the Lewis has the distinction of being the fastest on dirt in the history of the race through this year. The only better final Lewis clocking was Crown of Thorns’ 1:40.76 on a synthetic surface in 2008.
Despite I’ll Have Another’s huge odds when he won the Lewis, I did not think there was anything fluky about it. Keep in mind that when I’ll Have Another posted that splendid 1:40.80 clocking in the Feb. 4 Lewis, he was making his first start since Sept. 5.
My respect for I’ll Have Another grew when I observed a brilliant workout by him between races at Santa Anita on March 3. This is what I wrote here in my Xpressbet.com column after that workout:
“Between races last Saturday at Santa Anita, I’ll Have Another raised eyebrows by working six furlongs without company in 1:10 flat for trainer Doug O’Neill. The colt was escorted to his workout by 11-year-old two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Lava Man, who is a pony these days for O’Neill.
“The same electronic timer utilized for Santa Anita’s races was used for I’ll Have Another’s workout Saturday. The interior fractions were :24, :47 1/5 and :58 1/5.
“I timed I’ll Have Another’s workout from the press box on my phone. This was the first workout I have ever timed using a cell phone. Racing broadcaster Randy Moss, a visitor to the Santa Anita press box, likewise timed the work on his cell phone.
I timed I’ll Have Another in 1:10.5. Moss’ time was 1:10.2. More and more, it appears to me that I’ll Have Another is just an exceptionally fast colt, perhaps even a very special one.”
When I’ll Have Another made his second start at 3 in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 7, he was 4-1 in the betting. Creative Cause was the odds-on favorite at 4-5. I’ll Have Another and Gutierrez won by a nose.
I’ll Have Another’s final time of 1:47.88 once again was praiseworthy. It was faster than the final time recorded in the Santa Anita Derby by such outstanding colts as Affirmed (1978 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year in 1978 and 1979), Sunday Silence (1989 Horse of the Year), Point Given (2001 Horse of the Year), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000 Kentucky Derby winner) and Determine (1954 Kentucky Derby winner).”
These were my selections here in my Xpressbet.com column for the 2012 Kentucky Derby:
1. I’ll Have Another
2. Daddy Nose Best
3. Union Rags
4. Creative Cause
Bodemeister was sent off as the 4-1 favorite in the field of 20. Unraced at 2, Bodemeister went into the Kentucky Derby off a scintillating 9 1/2-length victory in the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park for Baffert.
Mike Smith rode Bodemeister for the first time in the Arkansas Derby. Smith was back aboard the bay colt in the Kentucky Derby. They started from post 6, while I’ll Have Another and Gutierrez began from post 19. No horse had ever won the Kentucky Derby from post 19.
Bodemeister set a torrid early pace (:22.32, :45.39, 1:09.80). I’ll Have Another alternated between racing sixth and seventh through the early stages while wide. When Bodemeister boasted a three-length lead with a furlong to go, it appeared that he might not be caught. But I’ll Have Another came on resolutely and overtook Bodemeister in the final sixteenth. I’ll Have Another won going away by 1 1/2 lengths while registering a very good final time of 2:01.83.
Andrew Beyer, the father of the Beyer Speed Figures, has said that he believes Bodemeister, not I’ll Have Another, was the best horse in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Many others have said likewise. I cringe each time I hear it. They say Bodemeister ran a marvelous race to finish second after setting such a ridiculously fast pace. They say Bodemeister would have won if he had not been pushed early by the speedy Trinniberg, who would be voted a 2012 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER WON REMATCH IN PREAKNESS
I do not disagree that Bodemeister set a wickedly fast pace in the Kentucky Derby. But if Trinniberg was the reason Bodemeister did not win the 1 1/4-mile Derby, then why was Bodemeister unable to beat I’ll Have Another in their rematch in the shorter Preakness at 1 3/16 miles when there was no Trinniberg in the field?
Those who proclaim Bodemeister was the best horse in the 2012 Kentucky Derby also seemingly do not take into consideration that I’ll Have Another raced wide after breaking from post 19. I’ll Have Another’s trip, according to Trakus, was approximately five lengths farther than Bodemeister’s.
The Kentucky Derby winner almost always goes off as the favorite two weeks later in the Preakness. But with no Trinniberg in the Preakness, a lot of people expected Bodemeister and Smith to turn the tables on I’ll Have Another and Gutierrez. Hence, Bodemeister was sent away as the 8-5 Preakness favorite, while I’ll Have Another was the second choice in the betting at 3-1.
Bodemeister did indeed have an easy time of it on the front end in the early going of the Preakness with no Trinniberg to deal with. This time Bodemeister was allowed to set a moderate pace, carving out early fractions of :23.79, :47.68 and 1:11.72.
As in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister sported a three-length lead with a furlong to go in Preakness. Again at this point, it looked like Bodemeister might not be caught. But I’ll Have Another made a determined late run to get up in the final yards to prevail by a neck. Bodemeister again had to settle for second. I’ll Have Another’s final time was 1:55.94.
Something else that suggests Bodemeister was not the best horse in the 2012 Kentucky Derby was his overall record compared to I’ll Have Another’s. Bodemeister’s only stakes victory came in the Grade I Arkansas Derby. That was it. I’ll Have Another won four stakes races, including three at the Grade I level.
After I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, he appeared to have an excellent chance to become a Triple Crown winner. He was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 entered in the June 9 Belmont Stakes.
However, the morning before the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, Paul Reddam announced that I’ll Have Another was going to be scratched from the race and retired due to a tendon injury. Union Rags won that Belmont.
If I’ll Have Another had been able to run in the Belmont, I think he probably would have won it to complete a Triple Crown sweep. The Beyer Speed Figures seem to support this.
I’ll Have Another was credited with Beyers of 101 in the Kentucky Derby and 109 in the Preakness. Union Rags recorded a career-best 96 when he won the Belmont.
It turned out that both I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister never raced again after running so hard in the Preakness. Union Rags never raced again after the Belmont.
Reddam sold I’ll Have Another to Japan’s Big Red Farm, owned by Shigeyuki Okada, for $10 million. According to Reddam, he received only two offers from American breeding farms: one for $3 million, the other for $2.5 million. So it was a no-brainer for Reddam to sell I’ll Have Another to Okada.
On June 26, 2012, before I’ll Have Another was shipped to Japan to begin his stud career, I visited him at O’Neill’s Hollywood Park barn. I was sad that he was leaving the U.S.
Okada hoped that I’ll Have Another as a sire would become another Sunday Silence.
Sunday Silence, like I’ll Have Another, won the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But unlike I’ll Have Another, Sunday Silence did get his shot at Triple Crown glory in the Belmont. However, Sunday Silence finished second in the Belmont to Easy Goer. And then, later in 1989, Sunday Silence won a Breeders’ Cup Classic for the ages by a neck over Easy Goer at Gulfstream Park. Sunday Silence was voted 1989 Horse of the Year.
After Sunday Silence was retired from racing in 1990, he became a phenomenally successful sire in Japan, something I’ll Have Another did not come close to doing.
The truth is, while Bodemeister lost both times he faced I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, who stands stud duty at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, has turned out to be a much better sire than the former Reddam colorbearer.
According to the BloodHorse’s stallion register, Bodemeister’s 2019 stud fee is $25,000, while I’ll Have Another’s is $6,000.
Just last Saturday, a son of Bodemeister by the name of Risky Proposition won the Let It Ride Stakes at Del Mar.
Of much more significance, Bodemeister is the sire of Always Dreaming, who won the Grade I Kentucky Derby in 2017. Bodemeister also has sired Grade II winner American Anthem and Grade III winners Yuvetsi and Once on Whiskey.
By comparison, I’ll Have Another has not sired a single graded stakes winner.
Am I surprised that Bodemeister has become a better sire than I’ll Have Another? No. While I considered I’ll Have Another to be an outstanding racehorse, Bodemeister took a much better pedigree to stud. And pedigree is extremely important in terms of a sire’s potential to succeed.
Bodemeister is a son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker and the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent. Empire Maker’s sire, Unbridled, was voted a 1990 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male after winning the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic that season. Empire Maker and Unbridled both have done quite well as sires, especially Unbridled. Storm Cat is one of the finest sires of all time.
I’ll Have Another is a son of 2005 Travers Stakes winner Flower Alley and the Arch mare Arch’s Gal Edith. Flower Alley pretty much was a dud at stud other than siring I’ll Have Another. At least there is something of a positive on the bottom side of I’ll Have Another’s pedigree in that Arch managed to sire Blame, who was voted a 2010 Eclipse Award as champion older male. Blame highlighted his 2010 campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic by a dramatic head to hand the great Zenyatta the only defeat in her 20-race career.
I will forever remain a member of the I’ll Have Another fan club. As such, while I am disappointed that he did not do better as a sire in Japan, I was delighted it was announced that his home will be in California. I certainly am rooting for him to do well at Ballena Vista Farm.