Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Derby Hopeful: I'll Have Another

“I’ll have another!” J. Paul Reddam declared.

He wasn’t in a bar. He was in his living room and decided he’d have an additional cookie. And so the name I’ll Have Another was bestowed upon the colt that was purchased for Reddam at the 2011 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.

The $35,000 juvenile purchase debuted in July of 2011 at Hollywood Park in a five and one-half-furlong maiden special weight over the cushion track. The colt led from start to finish, holding off by three-quarters of a length.

A month later, I’ll Have Another took on graded stakes company in the Best Pal Stakes (GII) at Del Mar. That day he faced the highly-touted Creative Cause, who would later become a grade one victor and even bigger rival. He could not keep up with the gray colt on that August day, finishing 1 ¾ lengths behind the son of Giant’s Causeway. He was clearly second-best, however, finishing over 3 lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

The chestnut juvenile was shipped east to the prestigious Saratoga Racecourse for the renowned Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (GI). Due to much rain, the track was left sloppy. A poor trip and an obvious lack of affinity for mud contributed to a sixth-place finish by I'll Have Another, who emerged from the race with a shin injury and did not race for another five months.

When I’ll Have Another returned to the races, he was dismissed at 43-1 in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (GII), one of the early Kentucky Derby (GI) prep races in California. He proved his doubters wrong, settling in second before striking to the lead around the far turn and drawing clear despite changing leads in mid-stretch. He won by 2 ¾ lengths with his ears pricked.

There were mixed feelings surrounding his upset victory. Some saw him as a serious Derby threat whereas others believed his win was a fluke. I fit into the former category, keeping him in the top six in my Derby Top Ten since its second edition.

I’ll Have Another was pointed towards the Santa Anita Derby (GI), California’s premier Derby prep. However, by doing so he would have to wait for seven weeks after his Lewis triumph. A special work was scheduled for the colt in order to give him a very suitable breeze for a horse taking a seven-week hiatus from racing. On Big Cap day, I’ll Have Another was ponied before the grandstand by the popular California champion Lava Man. He then partook in a six-furlong work before the large crowd gathered at Santa Anita, giving the workout a race-like feel. It was certainly a very apt work for a horse that had not started in a month and would not start for yet another month.

On April 7, I’ll Have Another faced Creative Cause yet again. The gray colt was held in even higher regards than he had been in August as a juvenile, as he was ranked first on many Kentucky Derby lists, including mine. The chestnut colt settled off the pace, allowing Blueskiesnrainbows to take an easy lead. Creative Cause began being asked urgently before I’ll Have Another was and the two colts hooked up at the top of the stretch. With Blueskiesnrainbows still on the lead, Creative Cause edged slightly clear of I’ll Have Another, but the Doug O’Neill trainee dug in to draw even with the gray colt. He then used his lengthy stride, love of running, and determination to edge out Creative Cause by a nose to complete the fastest running of the Santa Anita Derby in ten years, posting a final time of 1:47.88. With the victory, he gave jockey Mario Gutierrez his first grade one win and Kentucky Derby mount.

I’ll Have Another should certainly be taken seriously. He obviously is full of sheer talent. He is a long-striding colt with impressive acceleration in the stretch. Another advantage of his is his clear love of running. He wants his nose in front at the wire and, as he proved in the Santa Anita Derby, he will strive to get it there. I’ll Have Another has also proved that he can rate off the pace and still make an impressive move in the stretch. In fact, his two wins this year have been scored with that style.

Flower Alley, the sire of I'll Have Another
Photo: Terri Cage
Not only has I’ll Have Another proved with his track performances that he is a top Derby contender, but he is bred for it as well. He is sired by Flower Alley, a son of Distorted Humor who won the Travers Stakes (GI, 10F) and finished second in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI, 10F). Though fairly understated as a sire, he has produced the talented graded stakes-winning fillies Bouquet Booth and Lilacs and Lace. I’ll Have Another is already his leading money earner and appears to be the best horse sired by Flower Alley.

The dam of I’ll Have Another, Arch’s Gal Edith, is by Arch, the sire of the Breeders’ Cup Classic-winning Blame. As a broodmare sire, Arch has produced the dam of Uncle Mo, as well as nine other stakes winners. Though his broodmare sire statistics may suggest that Arch does not pass on stamina, it must be taken into consideration that he is a relatively new broodmare sire. By Kris S – the broodmare sire of such grade one-winning horses as Balance, Kris Kin, Ladies Din, Life is Sweet, Student Council, and Zenyatta – Arch has plenty of potential to become a stamina-influencing damsire.

Arch’s Gal Edith’s dam, the black-type placed Force Five Gal, is a daughter of Pleasant Tap, a son of the Kentucky Derby-winning champion Pleasant Colony. Force Five Gal’s fourth dam (I’ll Have Another’s sixth dam) is the Reine De Course mare Pontivy, who placed in several prestigious stakes before producing the multiple stakes-winning Jaikyl and I’ll Have Another’s stakes-winning fifth dam, Patelin.

Flower Alley and Arch’s Gal Edith form two crosses of Danzig between them, though Flower Alley brings to the table two crosses of Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer as well. Inbreeding of Danzig has been very successful, producing such horses as the group one winners Able One, Bushranger, and Mount Nelson.

I’ll Have Another hails from female family twenty-three, which has yielded nine Kentucky Derby winners, including the Triple Crown champion Affirmed. The most recent winner of the Run for the Roses that descended from family twenty-three is Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Other descendants of female family twenty-three include the Horse of the Years Discovery and Ghostzapper.

I’ll Have Another is just now putting everything together and seems to be on a road of improvement, which is quite intimidating considering how well he has performed of late. He possesses undeniable racing talent and a pedigree fit for a Derby winner. I’ll Have Another has rightfully earned his position as a leading contender for the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.

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