I'll Have Another (left) beats Bodemeister in the Preakness StakesPICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Matt Wooley
I'll Have Another set for shot at the Triple Crown
Report: USA, Saturday
Pimlico: Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1½f, dirt, 3yo
I'LL HAVE ANOTHER (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) is on course to be the first Triple Crown winner for 34 years after catching Bodemeister in the Preakness Stakes.
Bodemeister set a more comfortable pace than he did in the Kentucky Derby but I'll Have Another was able to catch him at the wire to score by a neck.
Third place was taken by Creative Cause, who tired after trying to follow Bodemeister, a further eight and three quarter lengths behind the runner up.
I'll Have Another, sent off 3.2-1, stopped the clock at 1m55.94s. "On to New York, baby!" shouted winning trainer Doug O'Neill after the race, as he considered the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
"The great part of I'll Have Another is that any of us could have a horse like this," O'Neill said. "He didn't cost a million bucks. But he's got the heart of a champion, the stride of a champion, and the mind of a champion.
"It took every bit ofthe stretch to get there," he added, "but it shows you just how brilliant this horse is and how brilliant a rider Mario is."
Bodemeister, who looks a dirt miler, again got the lead and had all the rest in trouble at thefar turn before I'll Have Another shot him down for a second time.
Mike Smith: praised both horsesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
The winner, a son of Travers Stakes winner Flower Alley, is now unbeaten in four starts in 2012. He paid $8.40 for the usual $2 stake.
Rookie jockey Gutierrez was overcome. "More than anything, I thank God I didn't disappoint people," he told NBC. "This wasn't about me. It's about the horse. He has a tremendous kick. He's more smart than I am. I just let him go."
Bodemeister is set to have a break before returning in the Haskell Invitational according to his owner Ahmed Zayat.
His jockey Mike Smith thought he had the race wrapped up and said: "I thought I put him away but he (I'll Have Another) reached up and got us with three strides. Two great horses and I give them all the credit for what they did."