I'll Have Another, the horse that looked to be on track for a Triple-Crown victory this year if not for an apparent last-minute injury, has a history of ailments, according to The New York Times, which is bad news for the Japanese stud farm that bought him for $10 million. According to The Times' Joe Drape and Walt Bogdanich, the ailments might've given I'll Have's buyers more insight into the animal when writing up their massive bid.
The horse's trainer and owner said the news came as a surprise to them, but The Times makes it seem like they should have known for a while: "Veterinarian records show that the colt’s ailments had been developing for some time, a fact underscored by a veterinarian, Dr. James Hunt, who did the X-rays after the Preakness and then performed an ultrasound examination on the colt the day before the Belmont." Hunt said the horse had "chronic/active tendinitis." Another veterinarian, New York State-employed Dr. George Maylin, said the horse had had osteoarthritis for "a period of time."
The horse's trainer, Doug O'Neill, and owner Paul Reddam both told The Times the horse was healthy right up to the day before the Belmont, when he was scratched. Reddam wrote on Bloodhorse.com on Monday that the news of I'll Have Another's tendon injury, which put him out of Belmont and sidelined him from racing, had him on the verge of tears. "My little brother appeared, took one look at me, and asked me if our dad had died. I told my wife that I just wanted to get on a plane and go home immediately." The sale to Japan's Big Red farm was an economic move based almost purely on the price, he wrote. "Being that the one offer was four times higher in cash than the best offer here meant that I couldn’t rationalize not selling him overseas." He sure was honest about his motives: "Certainly greed has something to do with it."