I'll Have Another: Perfect Horse to Win Triple Crown
I'll Have Another comes into the Belmont with as little fanfare as we've seen in recent horses that have won both the Derby and the Preakness. But this is a horse that the horse racing industry has to get behind.
Horse racing's troubles are well documented, from performance-enhancing drugs to focus on deaths and attendance woes on the track.
And while most aren't convinced that seeing the first Triple Crown in 34 years will boost the troubled sport, I'll Have Another winning it all in 2012 could be the perfect storm.
Because in order for horse racing to feel the bump, I believe the Triple Crown winner has to continue to race. in any other recent run for the trifecta, there would be no way that this would happen.
There would be no way that horses like War Emblem, Smarty Jones or Big Brown could have responsibly stayed out on the track with the huge stud fees that people were willing to pay during those times.
Storm Cat, the best stallion in the country at the time, was commanding $500,000 per live foal. Last year, Dynaformer, one of the best sires, was only getting $150,000, as the breeding business has been cut by 50 percent due to the economy.
The drop in the breeding business at the very top has been drastic. Three Chimneys Farm, which stands Dynaformer and I'll Have Another's sire Flower Alley, bought a stake in Big Brown hours before the Preakness in 2008, that valued the horse at $50 million.
That deal valued the horse's stud fee at at least $100,000. But by the time Big Brown made his way to breed in Kentucky, the economy crumbled. The initial stud fee was $65,000. Last year, it dropped to $40,000 before falling again to $35,000. If his first crop doesn't do well at the track this year, it will fall lower.
"It has taken a pretty big hit and what that does is it translates to how much of these stallion prospects are worth once they are retired," said Three Chimneys president Case Clay.
Clay says that if I'll Have Another doesn't win the Belmont on Saturday, he can command a stud fee of $15,000 to $20,000, which would put the horse's worth at around $6 million.
But he said the horse could win almost all of that if he wins the Breeders Cup Classic in the fall, with $5 million going to the winner.
Furthermore, Paul Reddam, the horse's owner, told me that he won't be tempted by any type of breeding money.
"There will come a time when he can't run anymore at 100 percent level," Reddam said. "That would be the time to talk about that."
Reddam thinks that if the horse won the Triple Crown it would definitely help horse racing more if the horse continues to race.
That's what happened the last time a horse won the Triple Crown. In 1978, Affirmed raced into his four-year-old season, giving a chance for the world to see a champion on the track instead of just seeing him through the eyes of his children.
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