Racehorse I'll Have Another, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Winner, Sold Overseas
The magnificent racehorse I'll Have Another was sold admittedly due to his owner's greed.Published August 9, 2012
Identifying with Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics in the hit Broadway musical “South Pacific”, was a breeze. Color me naïve; but I definitely put myself in the “Cockeyed Optimist” category.
I say this because when I learned that I’ll Have Another, the horse who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, was scratched due to an injury from the Belmont Stakes (the third jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing) and was retired from racing, I must have been starry-eyed to think that his owner, J. Paul Reddam, would put the magnificent chestnut colt up for stud at his barn, keeping him forever in a blissful situation impregnating all those beautiful fillies.
Even though Reddam claimed I’ll Have Another could have competed in the Belmont Stakes, since his injury wasn’t that serious, he didn’t think racing him was worth the risk. So when he announced the colt’s retirement from racing, I mistakenly assumed that his decision was based not only on his future earnings from breeding, but also because he truly loved the colt.
Boy, was my fantasy off the mark. I was stunned the other day when I read the headline, “I’ll Have Another Owner Admits Greed Had ‘Something To Do’ With Selling Colt Overseas on a CBS New York article about the racehorse. Apparently, Reddam sold the horse for $10 million to stand at stud at the Big Red Farm, a facility in Japan. The astounding price Big Red Farm paid for the colt far out-rivaled the only two written offers from American farms. Reddam placed the value on these offers at only $5 million. Greed had “something to do with selling the colt overseas”? Ahem!
But the story becomes more troubling. According to a recent news item in the Washington Times Communities, I’ll Have Another’s long-term future may not be as bright as appears on the surface. What if I'll Have Another's progenies don't display their sire's amazing talent? What happens if the colts and fillies he sires turn out to be "duds"?
To find out one possibility, we can look to what happened to Ferdinand, a once-famed racehorse, following his retirement. In a turn of events horseracing fans are not soon to forget, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner was also sold to a Japanese breeding establishment and shipped to the same island where Big Red Farm is located. His new Japanese owner became dissatisfied with Ferdinand’s progeny and as a result he was unceremoniously shipped off to be slaughtered in 2002, only to become pet food. The news of his inhumane demise shocked and broke the hearts of both racing fans and horse lovers around the world.
If I'll Have Another's performance in the stud shed is not successful, he too may be faced with the same cruel and sorrowful ending which Ferdinand endured. While there are several compassionate breeders and owners who truly love their horses and, at the end of their racing careers, retire them with dignity, respect and gratitude for what they have contributed to the Sport of Kings, there are those owners whose tremendous greed overshadows any remnant of appreciation or affection for the horses who gallop with all their hearts to win.
It appears there really is a very dark side to the horse racing industry, don’t you agree?
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