Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis hero I'll Have Another spiced up Big 'Cap Day by motoring six furlongs in a sharp 1:10 at Santa Anita. Taking to the fast main track after Saturday's 7TH race, the Doug O'Neill sophomore was accompanied by the stable's $5.2 million lead pony, Lava Man, who was basking back in the limelight.
With jockey Mario Gutierrez in the irons, I'll Have Another was on the muscle while ambling and jogging alongside Lava Man. The popular 11-year-old gelding, a two-time winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in his glory days, escorted his young companion until the time came for him to break away for his work.
I'll Have Another smoothly glided into stride on the backstretch and traveled conspicuously well through an opening quarter in :24. Rounding the far turn, the gleaming chestnut kept gaining momentum. Gutierrez gave him a very gentle cue with the reins at the head of the stretch, and I'll Have Another continued to roll under his own power. He steamed through a half in :47 and five furlongs in :58 1/5 en route to finishing his impressive drill.
I'll Have Another throttled down around the clubhouse turn and eased to a walk on the backstretch, where he was rejoined by Lava Man. The retired veteran, who made a splendid appearance himself, tossed his head in enthusiasm for the big crowd and the occasion.
The workout was a significant one, especially since I'll Have Another is skipping next Saturday's Grade 2 San Felipe and training up to the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. O'Neill mapped out this strategy after the Flower Alley colt ran a monster race in the February 4 Lewis, his two-turn debut, off a five-month layoff.
A debut maiden winner at Hollywood Park last July, I'll Have Another then finished second to Creative Cause in the Grade 2 Best Pal. He shipped to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Hopeful, but didn't cope with the slop and ended up an uncharacteristic sixth. I'll Have Another was shelved for the remainder of his two-year-old season, but returned in grand style to pull a 43-1 upset in the Lewis.