Whenever a long-shot wins a major sporting event in this country, we have to put him on a pedestal and talk about what is going to happen with him in the future instead of just enjoying the moment.
That is the situation facing Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another as the Preakness Stakes approaches on May 19.
I'll Have Another was on the Derby radar, but he was that blip on the edge that is there even though no one really pays attention to it. He was a 15-1 underdog at post time, was running in the middle of the pack most of the race and then made a charge at the end to upset Bodemeister.
It was one of the most exciting finishes in what was an otherwise lackluster race—Bodemeister was in control right from the start—and now Another is on everybody's radar. He is not going to sneak up on anyone this time around.
The biggest problem that I'll Have Another faces with the Preakness is it is a completely different race than the Derby. While there is more strategy involved with winning the slower-paced Derby, the Preakness is all about speed.
I'll Have Another was able to benefit from the length of the Derby track that won't be there at Pimlico. Horses have to start fast out of the gate and be able to maintain that for the entire 1-and-3/16-mile race, which was not something Another showed last weekend.
Another problem that I'll Have Another is likely to run into is weather. It was wet and rainy at Churchill Downs all day Saturday before the race, which actually helped the track play faster than it normally would.
With so much time before the Preakness, we have no idea what the track will look like on race day. if there are perfect weather conditions, Another would have a great chance to win the second leg of the Triple Crown because everyone will be bunched close together.
If the weather conditions aren't favorable and the track runs slow, Another is going to have a hard time getting out of the gate to challenge the top contenders at the race.
There are too many "What Ifs" connected to I'll Have Another to expect anything less than a disappointment at the Preakness Stakes in two weeks. He was a surprise winner at the Kentucky Derby, but lightning rarely strikes twice in sports.
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