I'll Have Another will not have another
By Jeff Frank, Contributing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The long drought continues.
Doug O'Neill, scratched I'll Have Another from the Belmont Stakes Friday morning due to tendonitis in the colt's left front tendon.
It is extremely bad timing with the third leg of the Triple Crown one day away, but at least the connections are doing right by the horse, something that was not the case four years ago with Big Brown and 43 years ago with Majestic Prince.
Those two colts, undefeated coming into the Belmont, raced despite injuries suffered after the Preakness. Big Brown wound up being eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux while Majestic Prince finished second to Arts and Letters.
So how does I'll Have Another's departure affect the race?
For one thing, the odds of the remaining 11 horses will sink, meaning a lack of value for many of the top contenders.
Dullahan, the expected favorite, will now be around 2-1 come post time and Union Rags will hover close to 5-2. Paynter, the Bob Baffert-trained colt, will drop from 8-1 down to 4-1 or 9-2.
Those folks expecting anywhere between around 12-1 on Street Life will now have to accept between 6-1 and 8-1 without I'll Have Another in the starting gate. However, the horse who will see his odds drop the most from the morning line is Atigun.
The recent allowance winner on the Kentucky Derby undercard should be the fifth choice at the odds Street Life was going to run at prior to I'll Have Another's scratch. Atigun could be 15-1 come post time, a far cry from the 30-1 he was saddled with on the morning line.
The other six colts and geldings (Unstoppable U, Ravelo's Boy, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Optimizer and My Adonis) will be anywhere from 16-1 to 35-1.
As for how the race will be run, the removal of I'll Have Another does not alter the early pace since the Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner would have sat fourth early on behind Unstoppable U, My Adonis and Paynter.
Unstoppable U and My Adonis will be the front runners on Saturday and that duo should relinquish the lead to Paynter somewhere on the far turn.
Don't be shocked if Union Rags and/or Dullahan are much closer to the pace than in their previous races, if only to make sure Paynter doesn't open up a clear lead around that final turn.
At the head of the stretch, look for Union Rags to challenge Paynter, with Dullahan waiting to pounce in third. Atigun, at this point, is a few lengths behind the three betting favorites but ahead of Ravelo's Boy and Street Life.
With one furlong remaining, Union Rags begins to tire and Dullahan starts to match strides with Paynter. The half-brother to Mine That Bird edges past the lightly raced colt and wins by a length. Paynter hangs on for second with Atigun third and Union Rags fourth.
The Revised Wager
Using a mythical bankroll of $100, bet $50 on a straight Dullahan/Paynter exacta with $23 the other way. As for the remaining $27, bet a $3 tri part- wheel singling Dullahan on top of Paynter, Atigun and Union Rags for second, and Paynter, Atigun, Union Rags and Street Life for third.
06/08 13:36:36 ET