Mike Battagalia of NBC Sports called into The Norris and Davis show to talk about I’ll Have Another’s chances in the Belmont Stakes, Kent Desormeaux’s recent troubles, and the talent of Mario Gutierrez.
Battagalia, who was at the Preakness and is going to be at the Belmont, said I’ll Have Another proved he is a good race horse by winning the Preakness.
“What a race. It was so much fun. I mean, this horse really, really proved how good he was. When he ran down Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby a lot of people contributed it to the fact that [Bodemeister] went too fast early. Bodemeister was the favorite in the Preakness, looked like he was home free, and I’ll Have Another did it again. It was amazing,” he said.
The third, and final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. This is the longest of the three races, at one-and-a-half miles long. Battagalia said even though Bodemeister is not running in the Belmont, a couple of good horses are, horses that haven’t run since the Kentucky Derby.
“Dullahan, who ran in third, he looks like he really wants a-mile-and-a-half, and Union Rags,who was the second choice in the Derby, who really didn’t get a chance to run in the Derby,” he said.
Battagalia also talked about the recent troubles of jockey Kent Desormeaux. Desormeaux was pulled off the Preakness mount,Tiger Walk, because he failed a Breathalyzer test in Belmont Park.
“He’s had some problems with alcohol. He is a talented rider. He just probably needs to get some help. I hope he does because he’s a good guy and everybody would like to see him come back,” he said.
Battagalia also talked about I’ll Have Another’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, and said he has shown a great ability to keep calm under pressure.
“He has shown such tremendous poise, unbelievable it’s been. He has shown such patience. The Belmont Stakes is a riders race. You can’t move too early. That mile-and-a-half will get to you and you have to be patient, and that’s what he’s been so far,” he said.
The Belmont Stakes will be run in Belmont Park on June 9. If I’ll Have Another wins the Belmont he will be the first horse in 34 years to win the Triple Crown.