I'll Have Another and trainer Doug O'Neill at the news conference… (Patrick Semansky / Associated…)
BELMONT, N.Y. -- I'll Have Another, who captured the public's imagination as he headed toward becoming horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, was scratched from the Belmont Stakes and will be retired to stud, his trainer, Doug O'Neill, said Friday.
I'll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, came up with tendinitis in his left front leg and will not race.
The horse had galloped Thursday and returned to the barn with heat in the area of his injury, O'Neill said, but responded well to treatment.
The trainer said he had always planned on a final gallop early Friday morning, which he did. The normal workout period for horses competing at the Belmont Stakes is 8 a.m., but O'Neill said he took I'll Have Another out at 5:30 a.m. because he wanted to avoid traffic on the track.
When I'll Have Another returned to the barn after his Friday gallop, he had inflammation in the same area, but again seemed to respond well in treatment, O'Neill said.
As a precaution, a veterinarian did a scan on the area, and it showed tendinitis, he said.
It typically takes a horse three to six months to recover from such an injury, but O'Neill and J. Paul Reddam, I'll Have Another's owner, they will retire the horse to stud.
"After all he has done, I think this is enough," O'Neill said.
I'll Have Another is set to return to Hollywood Park on Sunday or Monday. The next step will be to plan for his stud career, O'Neill and Reddam said.
Meanwhile, the Belmont Stakes is set to run on Saturday, with a lot less on the line.
"We'll be there and we'll be rooting," O'Neill said. "I won't tell you who we will be rooting for."
Reddam said he spoke to I'll Have Another's young jockey, Mario Gutierrez, to tell him and said "he reacted with sadness about the horse's condition. Then he asked if he could go home."
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