I'll Have Another scratch spoils book's monster Saturday
The horse racing world isn’t the only one mourning what could have been the first Triple Crown since 1978.
Race books in Las Vegas and offshore are sour after it was announced that I’ll Have Another would be scratched from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. The possibility of the first Triple Crown in 34 years was expected to bring in a state-wide handle that would rival the Kentucky Derby – the most-heavily bet event in horse racing
– according to one longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker.
“It’s a pain in the ass,” Jimmy Vaccaro, of Lucky’s Race and Sportsbooks, told Covers
. “It was building up to be a monster Saturday. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Dan O’Neill, announced the scratch on the Dan Patrick Show Friday
morning, sighting an injury for the withdraw. Not only does the absence of a Triple Crown hopeful hurt the racing side for books, but it throws a wrench into what is shaping up to be a huge weekend for sports bettors.
“You won’t have that crowd coming to watch history in the making,” says Vaccaro. “It’ll still do well but it’s lost all the excitement and we won’t get those bettors.”
The Belmont Stakes was the afternoon bridge between morning action in the European Soccer Championship and French Open tennis and that evening’s playoff games in the NBA and NHL, as well as the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight.
“It takes away a lot of the luster,” says Vaccaro. “You couldn’t have asked for a better day in terms of how the time spread was built. Now that’s all up in the air.”
I’ll Have Another was a +140 favorite for the Belmont. Dullahan and Union Rags, who were priced at +450 before the scratch, are expected to move to the top of the Belmont Stakes odds.