NEW YORK (AP) — Trainer Doug O’Neill delayed the detention barn check-in for Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, along with all the other horses set to run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, must report to a secure detention barn by noon Wednesday.READ MORE: Negative COVID Test Needed To Enter U.S., As Officials Try To Slow Spread Of Omicron
O’Neill initially planned to relocate I’ll Have Another from his cozy spot in Mark Hennig’s barn to the detention area on Tuesday. But O’Neill was busy with off-track functions and decided to wait until Wednesday after the colt completes his usual morning gallop around the 1 1/2-mile track.
“I want to be here when that happens,” he said. “After he trains, he’ll cool out over there to make the noon deadline.”
In the detention barn, every move and visitor will be closely monitored, a change in routine that has angered some trainers. New York racing officials mandated the last-minute move as part of new rules to ensure that the race is run fairly.
Instead of being spread out in barns around Belmont Park, all runners will be sequestered in stalls next to each other.
I’ll Have Another might be lonesome in his new digs. Lava Man, a career winner of more than $5 million and I’ll Have Another’s usual companion to and from the racetrack, won’t be making the move.
Lava Man can be temperamental, a carryover from his racing days, and O’Neill doesn’t want any disruptions.
“I just think it would be too nerve-wracking for him,” he said. “He’ll still chaperone I’ll Have Another every morning. I’ll Have Another is such a cool relaxed horse in the stall, I’m worried Lava Man will get a little anxious and I’ll Have Another will wonder why his big brother is so anxious. We’ll leave Lava Man here, and move I’ll Have Another.”
On a clear crisp Tuesday morning, I’ll Have Another turned in another in a series of strong gallops leading up to the race.
“He galloped great,” O’Neill said. “He looked good. Good stride. Good energy. Three more days of galloping and if we get lucky, ooo-fah.”
FIRST IN: Ravelo’s Boy was the first horse to take up residence in the detention barn on Tuesday morning.
Likely one of the longest shots in the field, Ravelo’s Boy vanned north from trainer Manny Azpurua’s barn at Calder Race Course in Florida and reported directly to the secured area after 23 hours on the road.READ MORE: 'Wicked' Cancels Weekend Shows Due To COVID Test Results And Scheduled Absences
Ravelo’s Boy walked inside the barn to stretch his legs.
“It’s a long trip,” said assistant trainer Enrique Barcenas, who accompanied the horse. “He behaved real nice. There was a lot of rain and a lot of wind on the drive but no problems. Everything was fine.”
The chestnut colt is just 2 for 13 in his career, and has not been better than fourth in three stakes appearances. He rallied from far back in both victories, suggesting he will try for the upset with a stretch rally in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.
This will be his first race outside Florida.
“He will do something good in this race,” Barcenas said. “We’re very proud to be here. We came to win the race.”
LOOKING GOOD: I’ll Have Another and Dullahan continue to make the best impressions among the early arriving Belmont contenders.
Like I’ll Have Another, Dullahan galloped strongly around the Belmont strip on Tuesday.
The Blue Grass Stakes winner will likely be the second choice behind I’ll Have Another when the Belmont post positions are drawn Wednesday. Dullahan rallied from far back to get third in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont.
Dullahan will be the third straight Belmont starter for trainer Dale Romans who was third in 2010 with First Dude and fifth last year with Shackleford.
Romans is hoping for a stakes parlay following Shackleford’s win in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day at Belmont
“They both like to train, hold their weight and maintain well with a lot of training,” Romans said of Shackleford and Dullahan. “They seem to be happy when they’re going.”MORE NEWS: President Biden, First Lady Attend Return Of Kennedy Center Honors
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