Officials from the Quad-City Downs pari-mutuel betting facility in East Moline are hopeful that horse racing enthusiasts still will turn out in big numbers for today’s Belmont Stakes, despite the news Friday that the Triple Crown will not be on the line.
The horse that already won this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, I’ll Have Another, was scratched from today’s race and retired Friday after the horse developed swelling in a tendon, believed to be the beginning of tendonitis.
While I’ll Have Another’s inability to compete for the first Triple Crown in 34 years is “very sad,” true horse racing fans will still show up to watch the race, said Dave Zenner, spokesman for Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., which operates Quad-City Downs.
“A few people might not come, but we still expect to have a tremendous turnout,” Zenner said.
Zenner said it appeared I’ll Have Another owners Doug and Dennis O’Neill were doing the right thing by not allowing the horse to run the Belmont Stakes and risk a more serious injury.
The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978. I’ll Have Another is the 12th horse since then to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but not the third.
Quad-City Downs opens at 10:30 a.m. for early betting. The Belmont Stakes is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.