No one ever make me choose between Afleet Alex and I’ll Have Another as my favorite race horse. I can’t do it. Both were gutsy, both won two Triple Crown races and should have won the third, both had their racing careers cut short due to minor injuries.
The 2005 Preakness is one of my favorite races to watch, seeing Alex fall to his knees and get up and barrel by the horse that hit him. The 2012 Preakness is just as enjoyable, listening to the announcer go crazy as I’ll Have Another runs down Bodemeister.
And of course, Afleet Alex running by Derby winner Giacomo “like he was standing still” in the 2005 Belmont, and the announcer’s call of it being an amazing performance was eerily similar to the wording of the announcer in 1973, about at the same point in the race, when Secretariat won the Triple Crown. Jeremy Rose, after that race, stated that Afleet Alex should have been a Triple Crown winner, but he had messed up the Derby for him.
And then there’s the 2012 Kentucky Derby, where the horse that my dad and I couldn’t stop thinking about after seeing his Santa Anita Derby came home in front. No one will ever convince me that I’ll Have Another would have lost the Belmont had he competed in it. With the time that race was run in? With how long it took the leader to be overtaken by the eventual winner? No disrespect to Rags or Paynter, of course, but I’ll Have Another would not have finished behind them. No way. He’d have won by daylight.
Afleet Alex, born in 2002. I’ll Have Another, born in 2009. My favorite race horses ever. Don’t make me pick one. I just can’t do it.