It was the first gallop over Belmont’s 1 ½-mile track for I’ll Have Another, who jogged the previous two days after arriving in New York last Sunday. The Flower Alley colt, who is bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, was accompanied by his stable pony, Lava Man, as he made his way to the track shortly after the renovation break.
As a steady rain began to fall, Gomez kept I’ll Have Another well off the rail toward the center of the track and the colt had his ears pricked forward as he rolled through the stretch before being pulled up on the clubhouse turn.
“He was a little hard to pull up,” said Gomez. “He felt really good. We’re happy because he came out of the last race very good. He handled the track very, very well.”
Added, Jack Sisterson: “He looked super,” said Jack Sisterson, trainer Doug O’Neill’s assistant. “One thing we were looking to see how he got over the track, stride-wise, and he looked fantastic. The rider said he felt good, and he’s happy, so we’re happy.”
Since 1919, 30 horses have entered the 1 ½-mile Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown, and 11 have succeeded, most recently Affirmed in 1978. Big Brown in 2008 was the last horse of 19 horses to have come up short in an attempt to sweep the series, and on June 9 there will be as many as 11 horses lined up to play the role of spoiler: Alpha, Atigun, Dullahan, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Optimizer, Paynter, Ravelo’s Boy, Street Life, Union Rags, and Unstoppable U.
“Congratulations to I’ll Have Another, J. Paul Reddam, and everyone on Team O’Neill!” “We are thrilled to welcome the Derby and Preakness hero to New York for the Belmont Stakes on June 9,” said C. Steven Duncker, chairman of NYRA’s Board of Directors. “We anticipate a spectacular day of racing, and look forward to welcoming fans to beautiful Belmont Park.”
For the first time ever, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is making $10 grandstand general admission tickets to the Belmont Stakes available through Ticketmaster.
Belmont Park has plenty of non-reserved seating available for grandstand general admission patrons, with benches and picnic tables located throughout the backyard area, inside the grandstand, and track side.
General admission tickets also provide ready access to areas populated with flat screen televisions, betting windows, and food options.
To buy tickets through Ticketmaster, racing fans can visit www.ticketmaster.com (tickets listed as “Belmont Stakes Admission”) or call 800-745-3000. They may also be purchased at select Ticketmaster locations.
On Belmont Stakes Day, patrons will also be able to purchase $20 clubhouse and $10 grandstand general admission tickets at the Belmont Park admission gates, which will open at 8:30 a.m. First post on Belmont Stakes Day is 11:35 a.m.