CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on CBS 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — I’ll Have Another? Sure, Why Not?

A horse is a horse, of course, unless the horse is the famous “I’ll Have Another.”

The unexpected Kentucky Derby winner goes for the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. I was wearing my Angel Flights when Affirmed staged a thrilling final turn with Alydar in the Belmont Stakes. (Insert Senior Prom here.) Affirmed held the lead from the start of that race, something you won’t see from “I’ll Have Another” on Saturday.

Bodemeister looked more like Affirmed than I’ll Have Another in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The horse is the frontrunner until he reaches the finish line. Like me with my Angel Flights in ‘78, neither one of us can close.

I’ll Have Another is a different story. An $11,000 buy sold two years later for a not-so-promising price of $35,000. But the opening price doesn’t always pay the bills, just ask Facebook stockholders.

Then, a funny thing happened when this horse turned three years old. He learned to close. So good, that if he had a beard, he’d be in the Giants bullpen by now.

I’ll Have Another was a pack mule at the first turn in Louisville, an afterthought at the midpoint. Not even second place in the final turn. Then, there was a run-for-the-roses worthy of a mint julep and maybe another. He had a simply brilliant stretch run that ruined a start-to-finish masterpiece by Bodemeister. A fluke? Perhaps.

Then came the Preakness and an almost instant replay. Bodemeister sets the pace, rules the race, and forgets to look in his rearview blinders. The Closer closes, again.

Now there is the biggest race of all, a chance at history and tens of millions waiting at the Shady Rest along with a Philly to be named later. The Belmont Stakes could define I’ll Have Another as the greatest closer of all time.

Sorry Mariano.

See you on TV.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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