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I'll Have Another continues to settle nicely at Belmont
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was a "very happy horse" Tuesday morning as he continued to settle nicely into his new digs at Belmont Park, where on June 9 he will attempt to become the 12th horse to add the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
"He walked again this morning," said Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, of I'll Have Another, who arrived Sunday from Pimlico. "He looks great, fantastic. He's a very happy horse. The main thing with this horse is, we can ship him around, and he settles right in. He just takes everything into stride."
Sisterson said he remains impressed with how quickly J. Paul Reddam's colt rebounded from his hard-fought victory over favored Bodemeister in the Preakness. I'll Have Another received a career-best 109 BRIS Speed figure for the 1 3/16-mile race.
"Watching the replays of the race and looking at the numbers, you would think it would have taken a lot out of him, but that's not the case," Sisterson said. "He bounced back right out of the race in great shape, ate everything up in the morning, the day after he shipped, and again this morning, That's the one thing you have to monitor after a race like that. He's doing everything we wanted to see, and more."
Sisterson added that I'll Have Another would return to the track sometime later this week, and that O'Neill was scheduled to arrive early next week to supervise the Flower Alley colt's remaining training.
In other Belmont news:
Trainer Ken McPeek, who upset War Emblem's Triple Crown bid in the 2002 Belmont Stakes with Sarava, will have a chance to play spoiler a second time in 2012.
Atigun has been confirmed for the race and could be joined by lightly-raced Unstoppable U, according to Lars Becdelamotte, McPeek's Belmont-based assistant.
From the first crop of sire Istan, Atigun passed tiring rivals to finish fifth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 14 before returning to win a Churchill Downs optional claimer by 1 1/4 lengths on May 5. The Shortleaf Stable colorbearer has breezed once at Belmont since shipping from Kentucky, turning in a 50 1/5 four-furlong move on May 19.
"He's shown he can run," Becdelamotte said. "He just keeps running and running. A mile-and-a-half distance should fit him really well. He seems to like the Belmont track since he got up here."
Unstoppable U, owned by Magdalena Racing and Mojallali Stable, will compete at Belmont on June 9, either in the Belmont Stakes or the $90,000 Easy Goer overnight stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Either race would be his stakes debut as the unbeaten colt has made two starts to date, graduating by 2 3/4 lengths on March 31 at Aqueduct Racetrack before defeating fellow Belmont Stakes contender Guyana Star Dweej by 6 1/4 lengths in an April 27 optional claimer at Belmont.
"We had a little bit of a slow start with him, but he's a very talented horse and if we could have started a little earlier with him we could have been on the Derby trail," Becdelamotte said of the gray son of Exchange Rate. "Right now we have to see if we're going to run in the Belmont or not. Right now, we're leaning towards it, but there's going to be a stake on the undercard he could run in, too. It's a big test, but he's very talented and very fast, so we'll just have to see."
Becdelamotte said Antigun will work a half-mile and Unstoppable U will work five furlongs on Saturday. Both are slated to cover five eighths on June 2.
Street Life, who is under consideration for the Belmont Stakes off a third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan on May 12, will return to the Belmont worktab "over the next few days," according to Cherie DeVaux, assistant to trainer Chad Brown.
"He came out of the race in good order and has been training very well," DeVaux said.
In the Peter Pan, Street Life made up 9 1/2 lengths in the final half-mile as he rallied from last of 10 to finish 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Mark Valeski, who on Monday was reported to be doubtful for the Belmont.
Owned by Magnolia Racing Stable LLC and Hidden Brook Farm, Street Life seeks his first victory since taking the Broad Brush overnight stakes on March 17 at Aqueduct. He sandwiched a sixth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial between the Broad Brush and the Peter Pan.