Mike Smith was dumbfounded. Mike actually asked me if I thought he moved too early. In my eyes, Mike Smith rode a flawless race and he and Bodemeister were the victims of a superior effort by a very good horse.
For the people that don't believe in I'll Have Another, here's a suggestion, get on board. Mario Gutierrez rode another outstanding race. There was plenty of pressure on the kid, and again he didn't let it faze him. I am amazed at his coolness. Mario will have to deal with things in the next 2 1/2 weeks that he has not and will not experience again.
He has plenty of friends and an experienced agent to help him stay grounded and focused. A lot has been made of the challenges of riding races at Belmont Park. This is true, but so far Mario has ridden two tracks with huge crowds and he has performed like a genius. Mario has prepared well before both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and observing him prior to and after both events, I am convinced he will do the same for the Belmont Stakes. Mario will arrive early and work horses over the main track and ride some races prior to the big day. I love the idea of him arriving early, the same as I'll Have Another, and becoming comfortable with his surroundings.
I'll have Another had his first spin around the Big Sandy this morning. According to his trainer and staff, I'll Have Another continues to eat well and thrive with everything that is going on.
I believe I'll Have Another may be sitting on his best race of the year, to this point, having only run four times. He has shown through his last three races that he can recover from his races and continue with his normal training schedule on a daily basis. Doug O'Neill and his staff have done a tremendous job managing him and taking care of his well-being. It is my belief that a happy horse will perform at the highest level on a consistent basis.
I'll Have Another obviously is a happy horse. Lets hope he stays that way, not only for the next 2 ½ weeks, but for the remainder of the year.
I believe in destiny! Let's hope I'll Have Another is destined to win the Triple Crown!!!