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Revenge in the Suburban

I Want RevengeThe last time he was seen in a race, I Want Revenge was turning heads with a spectacular performance in the Wood Memorial, emerging as the new favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Against all odds, the colt ran from last to first after rearing up at the break, being bottled behind a wall of horses, and checkedyet he still had a fighting kick to persevere. One month later, he would go down in history as the first favorite for the Kentucky Derby to be scratched the morning of the race. Bust went the dreams of 19-year-old jockey Joe Talamo, who was to ride in the first Derby of his life; and the showdown between I Want Revenge and Pioneerof the Nile would be chalked up to another edition of “What Might’ve Been.” But had the injury not been detected the morning of the world’s most famous race, a grislier outcome surely would’ve befallen this gutsy colt from California. To make matters worse, the injury had been brewing for some time, unbeknownst to his new part-owners, IEAH; the truth was, he never should’ve been entered to run in the Derby. Nobody knew if the colt would ever run again.

Fast-forward to one year and two months later. Two Triple Crown series later, after a legal battle that resulted in a new trainer and the entire ownership being transferred over to IEAH Stables, I Want Revenge is making a remarkable recovery back to the track, reminiscent of his against-the-odds victory in the Wood Memorial. The now 4-year-old colt will make his return at Belmont Park in the Grade II Suburban Handicap going 1 1/8th-miles this Saturday.

Since being transferred from trainer Jeff Mullins to Rick Dutrow, I Want Revenge began training in early May of this year. Instead of pointing him to an allowance race, Dutrow says he didn’t see any reason why the colt wouldn’t be suited for the Suburban, which has drawn a 7-horse field with a handful of stakes-winning contenders. According to the trainer, I Want Revenge has been “…developing the way you want a four-year-old to develop. Every day has been a good day with him.”

Though I Want Revenge was last seen in tested stakes company, this spot won’t be particularly easy after a 10-month layoff. He will be facing Haynesfield, who is entering the Suburban off a 3-race win streak, Convocation, Eldaafer, and Regal Ransom, who is also entering off a layoff. Last time out, Regal Ransom was running behind Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing 8th in a field of 12 at Santa Anita. His last victory came in the Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, his only start between the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. Though he has not been regularly running in graded stakes company, the New York-bred Haynesfield likes Belmont and has the Grade III Discovery Handicap to his resume. Last time out, Haynesfield won by an easy 2 ½ lengths June 13th in an optional claiming race at Belmont for trainer Steve Asmussen.

If he comes back to form, I Want Revenge will be a force to be reckoned with in the handicap division for older horses. Once transferred to dirt, the colt blossomed. He was always running 2nd or 3rd to Pioneerof the Nile on California’s artificial tracks, so it is good to see he is on the dirt where he belongs. The winner of the 2009 Gotham and Wood Memorial, I Want Revenge should find himself at home in New York, even though he has never run at Belmont before. Joe Talamo will fly in from California to be reunited with his former Derby mount.

It seems I Want Revenge is finally on the right track with connections that are looking out for his best interests. Let’s hope good karma finally reaches this team, and that we get to see this colt reach the full potential he never got to fully realize.


The Grade II $300,000 Suburban Handicap will post at approximately 5:16pm EST at Belmont Park and will be aired live on TVG and HRTV.

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