I’ll Have Another, the three year old horse who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, is on a mission to win the Triple Crown. However, after coming from behind in his first two victories, the horse may not have a race to run Saturday when the Belmont Stakes is scheduled. Starting gate and maintenance workers for the track may be on strike that day.
The labor union, which represents the workers at three New York tracks, agreed to strike sometime in the next week after negotiations stalled with the New York Racing Association. The track workers have been without a contract for over two years. The strike date is expected to be Friday, a day before the big race. Both sides believe their demands are more important than the historic event.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state houses the race, relayed the frustration of racing fans as the big day approaches.
“This year’s Belmont Stakes has the potential to be a truly remarkable event, attracting worldwide attention and millions of dollars of economic activity. It is simply unacceptable that a two-year-long labor dispute would imperil this special event.”
11 horses have won the Triple Crown, but none since 1978. The 1970’s saw three horses complete the feat, starting with Secretariat and then in back-to-back years, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. Since Affirmed’s win, 11 horses have won the first two races of the event, the last one being Big Brown in 2008.
The Belmont is the longest race of the three, which makes it harder to win. However, I’ll Have Another has done better as both races have gone on. The horse racing industry has seen new attention with the horse’s success this year. Losing the entire race would mean millions lost in gambling revenue that drives the sport.