I'll Have Another, the horse that was to make a bid for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, has dropped out of the race due to a swollen left front tendon, according to an Associated Press report.
Following victories earlier this season at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, a win at Belmont this weekend would have made I'll Have Another the first Triple Crown champion since 1978.
The news is also a blow to NBC Sports Group, which planned 4.5 hours of coverage of the 144th Belmont Stakes on NBC and NBCSports Network on Saturday. The cable network had been promoting the possible Triple Crown, airing the 30-minute documentary I'll Have Another - Charging Toward History on Thursday night, as well as encores of his Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories.
NBC Sports Network is scheduled to air Belmont Classics on June 8 at 4 p.m. and go Live From Belmont in the following hour. On race day Saturday June 9, NBC Sports Network will provide pre-race coverage from the Belmont Stakes from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed by NBC's presentation of the race from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"While we are obviously disappointed that our show won't feature I'll Have Another going for the elusive Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is still an iconic event on the sports schedule, and the NBC Sports Group broadcasts will treat it as such," said NBC Sports Group spokesman Adam Freifeld. "We're working now to adjust the game plan accordingly."