"I felt really good about where he was," Baffert said. "I really thought he was going to do it. The winner is a good horse. He should get the respect now that he deserves."
The victory was worth $600,000, boosting his earning to $2,693,600. Not a bad return for Reddam, who bought the colt for $35,000 on the advice of O'Neill's brother, Dennis.
"He showed he's the real deal. He's a real race horse. He gutted it out," Reddam said. "The other horse was not stopping. He ran a bang-up race, to come and catch him. How can you criticize that? For those who have followed the horse and bet on him, that's been pretty rewarding. I don't know if that will be the case next time, though."
I'll Have Another could have plenty of company for the Belmont, including some familiar foes from the Derby: third-place finisher Dullahan; seventh-place finisher Union Rags; eight-place finisher Rousing Sermon and 12th-place finisher Alpha. Other possibles include Paynter — trained by Baffert — and Peter Pan winner Mark Valeski.
Gutierrez, who was riding at Hastings Park in Western Canada until showing up in California last winter, displayed the calm and cunning of a veteran.
"It's not me, it's him. It's all about the horse," the 25-year-old jockey from Mexico said. "He just keeps proving people wrong. I'm so happy for him because he's such a great horse. He has a tremendous kick in the end."
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