Trainer Doug O’Neill delayed the detention barn check-in for Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, along with all the other horses set to run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, must report to a secure detention barn by noon Wednesday.
O’Neill initially planned to relocate I’ll Have Another from his cozy spot in Mark Hennig’s barn to the detention area on Tuesday. But O’Neill was busy with off-track functions and decided to wait until Wednesday after the colt completes his usual morning gallop around the 1 1/2-mile track.
“I want to be here when that happens,’’ O’Neill said. “After he trains, he’ll cool out over there to make the noon deadline.’’
In the detention barn, every move and visitor will be closely monitored, a change in routine that has angered some trainers. New York racing officials mandated the last-minute move as part of new rules to ensure that the race is run fairly.
Instead of being spread out in barns around Belmont Park, all runners will be sequestered in stalls next to each other.
I’ll Have Another might be lonesome in his new digs. Lava Man, a career winner of more than $5 million and I’ll Have Another’s usual companion to and from the racetrack, won’t be making the move.
Lava Man can be temperamental, a carryover from his racing days, and O’Neill doesn’t want any disruptions.
Strike threatens last jewel
A mediator was trying to settle a labor dispute at Belmont Park.
As Governor Andrew Cuomo urged both sides to reach agreement, an official with the union representing maintenance and starting gate workers at the New York racetrack said he hadn’t heard of any progress as the mediator continued to meet with the New York Racing Association and union leaders.
About 150 union members at NYRA’s Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga tracks have been working without a contract since February 2011, a year after the previous contract was given a one-year extension. The workers last month authorized a strike to begin Friday, a day before the running of the final jewel in the Triple Crown.
Vincent McElroen, financial secretary for Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, denied that the union waited until the week before the Belmont Stakes to threaten a labor action.
“We’ve been trying to get a deal for two years now,’’ he said from the union local’s headquarters in Queens. “The workers are just completely frustrated. No one’s looking to disrupt the Belmont Stakes.’’
Lukas kicked in head
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was hospitalized after one of his horses reared up and kicked him in the head.
The 74-year-old Lukas said from the hospital that he will be fine and he expects to return to the track Wednesday.
Jockey agent Ron Anderson says Lukas was in his barn at Belmont Park when Hamazing Destiny reared up and struck him. Anderson says Lukas was conscious and talking but will need stitches.
He is scheduled to saddle Optimizer in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
A historical call?
If I’ll Have Another becomes horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 34 years, he’ll take Larry Collmus into the history books with him.
The 45-year-old announcer from Baltimore has five Triple Crown races under his belt since becoming NBC’s announcer last April. He got the gig after longtime caller Tom Durkin decided to step down from the network telecast.