x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

I'll Have Another claims the Preakness Stakes from Bodemeister

Triple Crown now the aim after following up on Kentucky Derby success.

I'll Have Another, left, ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez, wins the Preakness Stakes from Bodemeister.
I'll Have Another, left, ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez, wins the Preakness Stakes from Bodemeister.

Kentucky Derby champion I'll Have Another won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday to remain on course for the Triple Crown, the greatest prize in US thoroughbred horse racing.

It has been 34 years since the last horse, Affirmed, swept the three classic races, but I'll Have Another has the chance to join the sport's elite if he can win the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 9.

Patiently ridden by Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, I'll Have Another completed the second leg when he wore down Bodemeister in the shadows of the post to win by a neck.

"It's just kind of surreal," said I'll Have Another's jubilant trainer Doug O'Neill. "Going into today, I thought this horse was a really, really good horse.

"And after today, he's proven this is a great horse. He's really a great horse."

Guiterrez stalked the front-running Bodemeister the entire race, galloping comfortably in fourth place along the backstretch.

The Kentucky-bred chestnut son of Flower Alley inched up to third while leaving the far turn before finding another gear with a furlong left to challenge Bodemeister.

Gutierrez, 25, a top rider for six years at tiny Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, British Columbia, pumped his fist after I'll Have Another crossed the finish line, a neck ahead of Bodemeister.

"The horse deserves the credit," he said. "He earned it. He never got a lucky trip. He has proven himself in the run. I just want to prepare. I want to be on the same level as him.

"He's an amazing horse, and I'm happy to be riding him."

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