Doug O'Neill said he first noticed something might be wrong with the colt Thursday, hours after his usual morning gallop.
"We prayed he kind of hit himself and that it was a little bit of skin irritation," he said as I'll Have Another grazed in the grass behind him.
O'Neill had called an audible Friday and taken his horse out to gallop at 5:30 a.m., three hours earlier than he had been working out in the days leading up to the race. He wanted to avoid the congestion created by all the Belmont horses going to the track at the same time.
"I thought he looked great on the track," he said, "and then cooling out, you could tell that swelling was back, and at that point I didn't feel very good."
A veterinarian confirmed the diagnosis and suggested that O'Neill give the colt three to six months off before resuming training. But O'Neill said he and his brother, along with Reddam and his wife, were unanimous in deciding to retire the colt who had won four consecutive Grade 1 races, starting with the Santa Anita Derby in April.
"I really thought he was going to run off tomorrow and really show something," Reddam said. "So we were all a bit shocked, but we have to do what's best for the horse."
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