Fans at Betfair Hollywood Park were given one last chance to cheer for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another at his home track before the colt heads off to stud duty in Japan.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez wearing purple-and-white silks rode I'll Have Another from the paddock through the tunnel and onto the track as fans cheered and waved signs. He walked onto the track before entering the winner's circle one last time.
Last month, owner J. Paul Reddam sold the chestnut colt to Shigeyuki Okada's Big Red Farm on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.
"The estimates of his value were so different from Japan that any rational human being, as much as they wanted the horse to stand here and breed mares, would have to take the Japanese deal,"
Reddam told BloodHorse.com
"It's sad," trainer Doug O'Neill said to The Associated Press. "We all wanted so badly for him to stay in the United States. I was actually pushing for him to stay in California, but there was just very little interest."
O'Neil says he plans to visit I'll Have Another in Japan with his family next spring.
"He's going to a first-class place," he said. "He's going to get the best mares, he's going to be super well taken care of. We're going to stay on top of everything and make sure if they have any hiccups or any questions, we'll be there to support them.
I'll Have Another will enter quarantine on Sunday for 30 days before going to his new home in Japan.
Trainer Doug O'Neil has yet to serve his 45-day suspension he received from the California Horse Racing Board after one of his horses tested positive for excess carbon dioxide in a race last year.
O'Neil did say he cashed in the I'll Have Another 200-1 Kentucky Derby future book ticket he bought for $100 in February, the wager paid $20,000.