Triple Crown? Please not this guy.

Doug O’Neill would tarnish an I’ll Have Another Triple Crown.

The big story of the weekend will be if I’ll Have Another can win the first Triple Crown since 1978.  I think it will happen one day but like Frank Deford, I don’t want it to be I’ll Have Another.  Let’s go Dullahan.

Why I’ll Have Another does not deserve to win the Triple Crown

Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated- To be perverse, I’d suggest that for the horse-racing industry, it’d be best  that I’ll Have Another does not — yes, does not win — the Triple Crown this  Saturday. Oh, certainly, absolutely every year you want a horse to win the first  two races — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — so that suspense builds and  a horse has a chance to win the Belmont and take the Triple Crown. But isn’t it  better to have the potential winner barely get beat so that the losing streak  continues, building interest?

It’s now been 34 years since we had a winner, and someday soon, someone will  start to call it the curse of the Triple Crown. Terrific! Curses are even more  attention-getting than streaks. I mean, suppose I’ll Have Another wins Saturday.  Next year, if another horse heads into the Belmont, going for the Crown,  everybody will just say ho-hum, they did that last year, what’s the big deal?

OK, that’s perversity. Now specificity.

I don’t want I’ll Have Another to win the Belmont. Oh, he’s a terrific little  horse, and his jockey, Mario Gutierrez, provides us with a wonderfully uplifting  story. To horse and rider, I say: good luck, godspeed, and if you win every race  but the Belmont, good for you.

But the people in charge of I’ll Have Another don’t deserve the honor. The  trainer is Doug O’Neill, a charming enough character, but a drug cheat  nonetheless. In fact, he must start a 45 day suspension on July 1st in  California. Illinois has already suspended him. He’s been fined nine times for  horses testing over the regulatory threshold. Perhaps most grievous, the horses  he trains break down at twice the normal rate.

I’ll Have Another’s owner is J. Paul Reddam, who is invariably described as a  former philosophy professor, which he was — as if he still strolls the hills  and dales alone, contemplating his favorite philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein.  More recently though, Reddam is president of CashCall, which refinances dubious  mortgages. Three states have challenged him over violations of consumer  protection laws. West Virginia has charged him with breaking usury laws,  assessing annual interest as high as, yes, 99 percent. All right, no official  judgment has yet been rendered against Reddam, but when the ethical standards of  both men are taken together, can’t we simply say that after 34 years, shouldn’t  a Triple Crown champion possess a better human pedigree?

Wittgenstein opined once, “I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I  only owe it to the horse’s good nature that I am not thrown off at this very  moment.” I’m sorry, but I hope both O’Neill and Reddam get bucked at the  Belmont. There is so much drug abuse in the sport, so many shady shenanigans,  that when it comes to that next horse who finally wins the Triple Crown, I’ll  take another.


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