I’ll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutiérrez are one race away from winning the coveted Triple Crown after the duo exploded from the pack to speed past race favorite Bodemeister and snag the win at the Preakness Stakes.
Gutiérrez and I’ll Have Another came out of the gate on the outside and pulled into fourth place down the opening stretch where the horse sat for most of his way all through the back stretch. Unlike in the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another’s trainer Doug O’Neill told Guitérrez to get involved in the race early.
In a move reminiscent of two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, around the final turn I’ll Have Another slipped into third before exploding from outside with an eight of the mile left to run down Bodemeister before hitting the finish line with a time of 1:55.94.
“I can't even put it into words, it's just incredible" said O’Neill, according to USA Today. "What a ride. Mario was so patient. We're thinking Triple Crown, baby. Come on, why not."
Bodemeister entered the race as a 3-2 favorite over the Derby winner, who came into Pimlico at 3-1. But Bodemeister competed for the sixth time this season and third time in five weeks.
What a ride. Mario was so patient. We're thinking Triple Crown, baby. Come on, why not.
- Doug O'Neill, trainer of I'll Have Another
I'll Have Another is just the fourth horse to win the Preakness from the No. 9 post, and first since Funny Cide in 2003. If all goes well, I’ll Have Another will be in New York in three weeks at the Belmont Stakes to try for the Holy Grail of American through breed horse racing, the Triple Crown.
The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed back in 1978.
For jockey Guitérrez the win is just one another notch on an amazing journey that he has taken in the last year. The 25-year old native of Mexico didn’t know that he would even be racing in the Kentucky Deby until he led I’ll Have Another to wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby, earning them a trip to Churchill Downs.
“As a jockey, you dream, you wish you’ll be there [at the Kentucky Derby], but you never expect it to happen,” Gutiérrez said. “Every jockey trains to go there and ride in that huge race. I’m so excited and so happy that it happened to me.”
The winner, second-favorite behind Bodemeister, paid $8.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Bodemeister returned $3.20 and $2.80, and Creative Cause paid $3.60 to show.
I'll Have Another is the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Contains reporting by The Associated Press.