Reddam Racing's I'll Have Another provided a 15-1 upset of Kentucky Derby 138 on Saturday when running down pacesetter Bodemeister before a record crowd of 165,307 to score by 1 1/2 lengths on the wire at Churchill Downs. The Doug O'Neill trainee provided jockey Mario Gutierrez with his first Derby winner in his first try when finishing 1 1/4 miles on the fast main track in 2:01 4/5.
"Unbelievable, I can't believe it," O'Neill said in the post-race NBC interview. "It's just an incredible feeling. Mario looked like Calvin Borel coming down the stretch."
Bodemeister just held the late run of Dullahan to take second with Went the Day Well completing the top four under the wire. Creative Cause came in fifth and was followed under the wire by Liaison, Union Rags, Rousing Sermon, Hansen, Daddy Nose Best, Optimizer, Alpha, El Padrino, Sabercat, Gemologist, Trinniberg, Prospective, Take Charge Indy and Daddy Long Legs. My Adonis didn't draw in from the also-eligible list and was shipped to Pimlico where he ran third in the Canonero II Stakes.
I'll Have Another was accompanied to the Derby starting gate by retired fan favorite Lava Man, whom O'Neill claimed and then developed into a handicap star last decade. Now 11 years old, the $5.2 million-earner might have passed on a few tips to his younger companion.
I'll Have Another moved his record to 6-4-1-0 following prior victories in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes and paid $32.60, $13.80, $9 for this, his third straight win.
"He was on his toes (in the paddock) but never sweated up," O'Neill said. "His two races this year have been so incredible."
Gutierrez settled I'll Have Another on the outside in seventh down the backstretch before sending him up between horses nearing the turn. All the while, Bodemeister was out in front setting splits of :22 1/5, :45 1/5 and 1:09 4/5 while tracked by Trinniberg and Hansen to his outside. Favored Union Rags broke a step slow and was in traffic in the rear of the field.
I'll Have Another was wide rounding the turn and took off after Bodemeister entering the lane. The sophomore kept motoring down the center of the track and caught the pacesetter on the wire to score his third straight graded win.
I'll Have Another began his racing career on the synthetic tracks in California, taking his maiden debut on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track prior to a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes over Del Mar's Polytrack. The chestnut son of Flower Alley tried a conventional dirt track when closing out his juvenile campaign with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and wouldn't be seen in competition again for five months.
I'll Have Another returned to California over the winter and made his sophomore bow a 2 3/4-length upset in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes when sent off at 43-1, but proved that win to be no fluke when gutting out a nose score in the Santa Anita Derby in his final prep for the Run for the Roses.
Sold at auction for $11,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, I'll Have Another was then purchased by Dennis O'Neill, the trainer's brother, for $35,000 as a two-year-old in training at OBS last April.
Out of the winning Arch mare Arch's Gal Edith, I'll Have Another comes from the family of Grade 1 winners Roanoke and Into Mischief. He counts as his fifth dam the influential matron Patelin, ancestress of champion Pleasant Stage and such Grade 1 winners as A Phenomenon, Seattle Meteor, Pillaster and Class Play.
I'll Have Another was ponied to the start of the Santa Anita Derby by retired fan favorite Lava Man, whom Doug O'Neill claimed and then developed into a handicap star last decade. Now 11 years old, the $5.2 million-earner might have passed on a few tips to his younger companion.