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It had been over two months since the Dana O’Neill trained I’ll Have Another ran in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, where he won easily as a 43-1 longshot. In Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, he didn’t have the luxury of being an unpressured longshot. Instead, he was one of the favorites, along with fellow Kentucky Derby contenders Creative Cause and Liaison.

On a great day for racing, over 33,000 people poured into Santa Anita to see one of the most anticipated Kentucky Derby prep races of the season. Bob Baffert, who had three horses in the field of nine, was trying to win his seventh Santa Anita Derby and his Blueskiesnrainbows jumped out of the gate quickly to take the lead and set the pace. I’ll Have Another was just behind the leader at the quarter mile mark and favorite Creative Cause was five back. Senor Rain and Longview Drive fought I’ll Have Another for second as Blueskiesnrainbows continued to lead by almost three lengths as they passed half a mile. The three-year-olds held their ground through the turn, but the race really began at the top of the stretch, when Creative Cause, who had been running fifth, started making his way past the pack along the rail. In the last 150 yards, I’ll Have Another, Creative Cause, and Blueskiesnrainbows pulled away and fought ferociously for the lead. They crossed the finish line three wide, with I’ll Have Another winning by a nose on his final stride, with Creative Cause finishing second.

The celebration in the winner’s circle was very Kentucky Derby like, as I’ll Have Another owner Paul Reddam, who had loaded up six buses full of employees at his CashCall lending company to join him at the race, was surrounded by a cheerful mob. 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, who had previously been racing in Canada, gave I’ll Have Another a great ride and was excited about the biggest victory in his young career; “”It’s indescribable, I never expected this.” {1}

The next stop for the top two finishers, I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause, will be the Kentucky Derby on May 4th. Baffert’s Liaison has enough earnings to qualify for the first leg of the Triple Crown, but it’s yet to be determined on whether he will be sent to Louisville.

{1}http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/I-ll-Have-Another-wins-Santa-Anita-Derby-3466328.php#ixzz1rY0tgilP

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