The third and final leg of the 2017 Triple Crown is upon us. It’s been two years since American Pharoah made his historic run in the Belmont Stakes to end the 37 year drought and for back to back years now, we head to this final leg without even a shot at another Triple Crown. Always Dreaming started out very strong but as they made the turn for the finish, he fell back and would finish the race in 8th place ending his shot at a Triple Crown. Always Dreaming has also decided to sit out the final leg this weekend. The winner of the Preakness Stakes, CLoud Computing, will also not be making the trip to New York marking the first time since 2010 that the Preakness winner will not race in the Belmont Stakes. In fact, there is only one horse will be starting on Saturday that has also made starts in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes this year. That horse is Lookin At Lee (finished 2nd at the Kentucky Derby and 4th at the Preakness Stakes).
One of my favorite weekends in sports is upon us. Both the NBA and NHL conference finals are underway, the MLB is trudging along, and most importantly, the Preakness Stakes. The second leg of the Triple Crown takes place this Saturday in Baltimore, MD. The race features Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Post Position 4, 4-5) and nine competitors that will attempt to stop him from taking his next step towards Triple Crown fame.
It’s that time of year again when the best 3-year-old horses in the world get set to start their journey towards becoming the next Triple Crown champion. Last year was somewhat of a disappointment as we saw a different winner in all three races. With a new year brings new hope to the sport and an opportunity for this class of 3-year-olds to provide that next Triple Crown champion. This year’s field is as wide open as ever. There is a case to be made for 8 of the 20 horses that will leave the starting post on Saturday. This race includes top horses Classic Empire, Irish War Cry (Wood Memorial Winner), Gormley (Sham Stakes & Santa Anita Derby Winner), Always Dreaming (Florida Derby Winner), McCraken (Sam Davis Stakes Winner), Irap (Blue Grass Stakes Winner), Gunnevera (Fountain of Youth Stakes Winner), and Girvin. Although there are a lot of unknowns about Saturday’s race, one thing is for certain. This should be one of the most exciting and competitive races we have seen in this race for the roses.
Another horse racing season has come and gone again. This year was far less exciting than what 2015 brought us. We entered this year with the high hopes of a repeat Triple Crown for just the second time in the sports illustrious history. When the season started back in May, we had Nyquist, a 3-year-old who was undefeated and looked to be in the same tier as the great American Pharoah. That hope was rather short lived after he stumbled at the Preakness Stakes and lost to Exaggerator. It then looked like we were going to have an instant rivalry classic on our hands between Nyquist and Exaggerator much like the Red Sox and Yankees or Jets and Sharks. That hope was also short lived as Nyquist was unable to run in the Belmont Stakes due to an illness. Exaggerator himself failed to impress at the Belmont after he finished 11th out of 13th. As we turn to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, neither Nyquist or Exaggerator will run and we will be looking for another horse to shine.
This past weekend I was out with some college buddies of mine and they started asking me about my next blog post. I proceeded to tell all of them my next piece was about the Belmont Stakes with the race coming up on Saturday. Now being that these buddies of mine have not taken the same kind of interest in the thoroughbreds the way I have, they all seemed to lose interest in the Belmont Stakes. One of them gave me a valuable piece of advice and gave me an idea to take a different approach to this piece and come up with ways to “Make Belmont Great Again”.
For the third year in a row, the favorite to win the Triple Crown has won the Kentucky Derby and heads to Baltimore looking to capture the middle jewel and the Black-Eyed Susans at the Preakness Stakes. This year’s Preakness has a different feel to it. Last year, and the 35 before that, we were anxiously awaiting the race to see if the winner at Churchill would be the winner at Pimlico. Now, most thoroughbred racing fans have mixed feelings about the outcome of the race; do we want to see a Triple Crown winner in back to back years or do we want to wait for another Triple Crown winner and let American Pharoah remain alone on his perch of living champions?
For the past 37 years, all horse racing fans have been hoping, praying, and yearning for the Triple Crown drought to end. This year we are all asking ourselves, “Will we see another championship performance like the one American Pharoah provided us last year? Will we see a Triple Crown winner in successive years for the first time since Seattle Slew and Affirmed won back to back in 1977 and 1978?” The fastest two minutes in sports has yet again found a way to give its fans something to watch for this year.