Published Friday, June 8, 2012 | 9:06 a.m.
Updated Friday, June 8, 2012 | 11:38 a.m.
NEW YORK — I'll Have Another's bid for the first Triple Crown in 34 years ended shockingly in the barn and not on the racetrack Friday when the colt was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes and retired with a swollen tendon.
"It's been an incredible ride, an incredible run," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "It's a bummer. It's not tragic, but it's a huge disappointment."
I'll Have Another, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with stirring stretch drives, was the 4-5 favorite to win the Belmont and become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978.
Instead, he becomes the 12th horse since Affirmed to win the first two legs but not the Belmont.
It was the first time since Bold Venture in 1936 that the Derby and Preakness winner didn't run in the Belmont. Burgoo King skipped the race in 1932.
O'Neill said the swollen left front tendon was the beginning of tendonitis, which could have taken six months to treat.
"We're very, very bummed out, but we'll be back next year," said O'Neill's brother, Dennis. "He looked fine, he actually looked fine again this morning, we were just precautionary taking a look at it. Just a bummer, real, real bummer.
"The horse looks fine. Looking at it, you would never think anything is wrong. He looks great. He's sound. He went great this morning. He looks super and you just can't take a chance. He's too valuable of a horse and we love him to death like all of them.
"You wouldn't run a horse if you think something might happen," he said.