For the first time since 'Affirmed' did it in 1978, we could have a Triple Crown champion horse on Saturday at the Belmont Stakes. I'll Have Another -- the winner of the Preakness and Kentucky Derby -- is just "four more good gallops away from making history," according to his trainer.
On Monday, I'll Have Another went on some training gallops while his competitor horses went on longer runs and sprints, as the horse's trainer, Doug O'Neill, is opting to save I'll Have Another for the race.
But all the horses will have to abide by strict testing and move to a new restrictive barn as early as noon on Wednesday, part of the new rules to ensure that the race is run as fairly as possible:
Like a real prison, the so-called detention barn has bare bulbs illuminating every stall and visitors have to be logged in and out. Instead of being spread out in barns around Belmont Park, all Belmont runners will be sequestered in stalls next to each other. [...]Along with the horses go equipment, feed and hay, making the move more labor intensive than simply walking the horses to their new stalls. Upon arrival, they will each have a blood test to be reviewed that night by a drug lab.
Everyone associated with the horses, including trainers, assistants, veterinarians, grooms, hot walkers and owners, will have to pass through 24-hour security. Vets have to give advance written notice of any planned treatments.
This move has angered some trainers, but I'll Have Another's trainer accepts the rules. While he's not thrilled about the move, he understands that this sort of thing happens. I'll Have Another is expected to be moved on Tuesday.
For more on I'll Have Another's quest for the 2012 Triple Crown, stay with this StoryStream. For more on the world of horse racing, visit And Down The Stretch They Come.