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Belmont Stakes 2012: I'll Have Another's Triple Crown Dreams Almost Become Nightmare In Near Accident

With the 2012 Belmont Stakes a little over a week away, the eyes of the horsing world are focused upon horse racing's newest rising star, I'll Have Another. Only a win shy at the Belmont of the 12th Triple Crown in horse racing history, I'll Have Another's every move has been scrutinized since winning the Preakness a few weeks ago. On Thursday, the horse came dangerously close to making it's final move when a freak training accident almost ended I'll Have Another's Triple Crown dreams long before they ever had a chance of starting.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was walking a few feet off the outside rail when Isleta, a three-year-old maiden filly, came sprinting by. The horse had shook its rider and charged just to the right of I'll Have Another, grazing the boot of exercise rider Jonny Garcia. Obviously this left trainer Doug O'Neill unsettled.

Courtesy of RacingDailyForm.com:

"I'm still a little twisted by it," O'Neill said, holding his stomach about an hour after the incident. "I've seen accidents happen before. Fortunately, everything worked out fine."

The incident led to O'Neill calling the New York Racing Association to see if training times could be allocated for Belmont horses to avoid these kinds of occurrences in the future. Such an arrangement is in place at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.

For more on the Belmont and Triple Crown, check out this SB Nation Cleveland story stream, or this SBNation.com story stream.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.