In a coup for the Golden State, California-trained “I’ll Have Another” won the Kentucky Derby in an upset victory.
“I’ll Have Another’s” home is at Hollywood Park in Southern California and is trained by Santa Monica-resident Doug O’Neil. It was O’Neil’s first Kentucky Derby win.
After the race, in an endearing moment, O’Neil’s school-age son told a national TV audience that he was going to get a hot tub as a result. (His dad promised him one if “I’ll Have Another” won the race).
Our family met up with O’Neil — a longtime figure on the California racing scene — in a breakfast gathering at the Del Mar Racetrack last summer, along with other early-morning fans. He’s a gregarious character, wearing a colorful hat.
I asked him about Lava Man, a famous retired racehorse that O’Neil also trained, who now works as a “stable pony” — escorting horses including “I’ll Have Another” onto the race track. Lava Man was present in today’s Kentucky Derby.
Owner J. Paul Reddam is a former teacher of philosophy and logistics at the University of Southern California. The young jockey Mario Gutierrez races in Vancouver and Southern California.
Here’s O’Neil winning at Santa Anita with “I’ll Have Another” (a wonderful name for a racehorse).