NEW YORK, NY (NBC) - I'll Have Another's run for the Triple Crown is over. "I'm afraid history is going to have to wait for another day," horse owner Paul Reddam lamented Friday.
The colt's last trip ever around an oval came just after sunrise, a light jog then easy gallop through the early morning fog with no signs of a problem, but as I'll Have Another returned to the barn it became clear something wasn't right.
There was swelling in the horse's left front leg.
A quick scan of the leg revealed the beginnings of tendonitis, a diagnosis that meant i'll have another wouldn't run.
"It was unanimous between the Reddams and my brother and I and everyone at the barn to retire him," said trainer Doug O'Neill, "and it is a bummer, but again, far from tragic, but it is very disappointing."
A bummer that those in racing understand is part of the gamble that comes with their game.
I'll Have Another's sore and swollen leg is expected to shrink the crowds and merchandise sales at Belmont Park this weekend, though organizers point out it is still a major race and will go on as planned.
"I think people are in town, they are looking for some excitement, the weather is supposed to be good so we're not getting too down on this," said Belmont Park's Drew Revella.
The longest span between triple crown winners will now stretch to at least 35 years.