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Feb 09, 2012

I'll Have Another surprises to win Robert B. Lewis Stakes


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - I'll Have Another, the longest shot in the field, pulled an upset in Saturday's $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/16-mile stakes is a stepping stone to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

Sent off as the 43-1 outsider in the eight-horse field, I'll Have Another was racing second up the backstretch behind pacesetter Isn't He Clever. Liaison, the 3-2 favorite, was running in third in the early going and fourth on the backstretch.

I'll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, continued to press the pace as the field entered the far turn. Coming into the stretch Isn't He Clever was joined by I'll Have Another on the lead, but the eventual winner went past the pacesetter down the stretch.

I'll Have Another, trained by Doug O'Neill, hit the wire 2 3/4-lengths to the good over 11-1 longshot Empire Way. Groovin' Bob was third followed by Rousing Sermon, Isn't He Clever, Sky Kingdom and Chips All In. Liaison clipped heels and lost his jockey inside the furlong pole. Groovin' Bob was disqualified to last for interference in midstretch.

"He's an incredibly talented colt and we decided to take a chance in here," the winning trainer noted. "We thought he could hit the board and we'd move forward, but he ran unbelievable. Mario (Gutierrez) gave him a great ride. He's always trained fantastic, but we never saw this coming to be honest with you. This is incredible. We'll look at the Santa Anita Derby if all goes well."

The time for the Lewis Stakes was 1:40.84 on a fast track.

I'll Have Another, owned by Reddam Racing, notched his first win since beginning his career with a victory last July at Hollywood Park. Saturday's win was worth $120,000. The chestnut colt followed his initial win with a second in the Best Pal Stakes in August and a sixth at Saratoga in the Hopeful. His earnings now stand at $184,000.

"We bought him at the OBS (sale) in April of last year and we've loved him since Day One," said Dennis O'Neill, the trainer's brother and associate. "He trained like a really good horse from Day One, trained like a two-turn horse from Day One. He came out of his Saratoga race with sore shins, so when we got him back going, Paul (owner J. Paul Reddam) said to take our time with him. We paid $35,000 for him. It's great for Paul. Paul's put a lot of money in the game and this is fantastic for Paul."

I'll Have Another returned $88.60, $35.80 and $12.00. Empire Way paid $11.80 and $6.20, and Rousing Sermon paid $3.40 to show.

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