ELMONT, NY - JUNE 01:  Triple Crown hopeful I'...

On the eve of the Belmont Stakes, the trainer of I’ll Have Another has announced that the horse has been scratched and will not race.  The culprit is swollen tendon in a leg.

The horse racing industry has been in need of a shot in the arm, and I’ll Have Another’s attempt at history would have given it a huge boost.  The last time a horse won the Triple Crown was in 1978 with Affirmed.

Had Another been able to race in the Stakes and come away with a win, the financial reward for his owners would have been enormous.  Not just the substantial stud fees, but also merchandising rights.  There’s a movie about Secretariat – would a triple crown run by I’ll have another generated a multi-million dollar bounty?

I’ll Have Another’s leg woes are also bad for NBC, which will televised the race, and the companies who purchased advertising.  What could have been an electric event with millions of extra viewers will now become just another ho-hum race.  Not only will the race lack Another’s star power, but will also be without Kentucky Derby favorite Bodemeister.

In the end, this is the case of an owner and trainer putting the horse’s health ahead of possible financial riches.  We’ve seen a horse break down on the track in a big race – Barbaro – and it’s not pretty.  Perhaps I’ll Have Another could have girded up his loins for one last race and run into the history books.  Perhaps he would have race poorly and tarnished his image.  Or, worst of all, perhaps this could have led to a broken leg and sent him down the path of euthanization.

As much as I would have enjoyed seeing I’ll Have Another make history, I agree with the call by the owner and trainer in this case.  Better safe than sorry.  As big and powerful as these horses can be, it’s important to also remember that they can be very fragile.

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