After his connections partied late into the night outside of his barn – except for O'Neill, who went to his hotel room with his wife and kids and ordered room service – I'll Have Another was spry at dawn.
"He looks great this morning," O'Neill said. "Licked his feed tub. Legs look good. Energy is high."
I'll Have Another shipped out of Baltimore at about 8 a.m., bound for a yet-to-be-decided barn at Belmont. O'Neill and owner Paul Reddam spoke Sunday morning about finding a secluded spot like the one they had in Baltimore.
O'Neill will head back to California, where his operation is based. Assistant Jack Sisterson and a crew of others will accompany the horse and see him through probably his first week in New York until O'Neill returns.
Team O'Neill is more familiar with Belmont than it was with Pimlico when it arrived. Their horse Stevie Wonderboy won the 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile there and had all the looks of a Triple Crown contender. He broke his ankle in February of the next year, though, and was retired.
O'Neill has not yet decided on a training plan for I'll Have Another, but said the colt will likely only walk the next few days before returning to jogging.
"He'll tell us what to do," the trainer said.
I'll Have Another will be the 12th horse to head to New York with a chance at the first Triple Crown since 1978. O'Neill playfully said that he was unlikely to research what befell those other contenders.
"Studying and me don’t really get along," he said.
But that discussion will only intensify, and his team of assistants -- one that owner Reddam has readily financed -- will be looking for any way to keep their run going.