With the 2012 Belmont Stakes coming up this weekend, the attention on this year's race will be amplified ten-fold by the prospects of I'll Have Another completing the first Triple Crown championship since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978. This makes every story more important than the last.
On Tuesday, it was reported that all the horses would be moved into the same locker room and will stay there until the day of the race. This move is fairly uncommon and provides issues with the horses becoming scared by the unfamiliar environments. With all of that in mind, I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neill is happy with the arrangements and feels it should add some legitimacy to the sport.
Courtesy of BloodHorse.com:
"I know the other guys will probably hate me for this, but I like the thought of showing the general public all the horses are in the same locker room, they're all being looked after real thoroughly," he said.
"Just the transparency that our game probably lacks is key. You get a lot of commentary from people who don't know the horses, who don't know the horsemen, and don't know how they're cared for. This way you have everyone in an isolated vicinity and everyone who wants to come and kind of watch what's going on there and make a judgment from what's really happening and not guessing what's going on in that guy's locker room or that guy's locker room. I think it's a good thing."
It needs to be noted that O'Neill has a history of doping and is currently suspended for 45-days in California because of doping issues. It probably isn;t a stretch to assume that this kind of move will help clear any doubt in the case that I'll Have Another is able to complete the Triple Crown.
For more on the Belmont and Triple Crown, check out this SB Nation Cleveland story stream, or this SBNation.com story stream.