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I’ll Have Another Wins Preakness

In a gutsy performance, the Derby winner has done it again.  He ran down another impossibly brilliant run of Bodemeister to win the Preakness and take us to Belmont with Triple Crown hopes very much alive. @JoeBianchino

With Bodemeister taking the field down the back stretch, a rather pedestrian half mile time was shown on the board, and thus vanished the Preakness hopes of I’ll Have Another – or so we thought.  In a shorter race, running – by comparison – crawling fractions, and apparently unfazed by his Derby effort, learned horseman everywhere thought the colt was about to run away with the second leg of the Triple Crown.  No one expected a repeat of I’ll Have Another’s Derby stretch run.  But then again, no one knew that Mario Gutierrez knew – that he had the horse.

Rob Carr, Getty Images

So at the top of the stretch, when the colt who broke from the gate the second betting choice jumped out from behind Creative Cause’s slip stream and confidently strode down the middle of the track, the racing world held its breath. Could he really do it again?  With a sixteenth to go, with Bodemeister’s lead shrinking with every step, a low groan began to build.  Does he have enough time? And when the pair hit the wire, separated only by noses, that groan erupted into a thrilling cryall the answer you needed.  Yes, and yes.  I’ll Have Another had roared down the stretch, past the perfect run of Bodemeister and captured a Triple Crown race.  He’d done it again.

No excuses for Bodemeister.  The race set up perfectly for him.  He made the lead, he wasn’t pressed, and he had plenty of run when he turned for home.  Mike Smith gave the colt a flawless trip.  He just wasn’t the better horse on this day.  Creative Cause finished an irrelevant third with Zetterholm getting up for fourth.

But no one is focusing on third and fourth.  This race is about first and second.  It’s about the budding rivalry of two brilliant colts.  And now, it’s about looking ahead to a Belmont Stakes that will have the Triple Crown on the line.  He’s conquered Churchill and a mile and a quarter.  He’s conquered Pimlico and a mile and three sixteenths.  But can he get the Belmont and a mile and a half?  Finally, the test of champions will have a chance to crown one.  Congratulations to I’ll Have Another, the winner of a dramatic Preakness Stakes.

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