Monday, May 17, 2010

Once Again, No Triple Crown

They ran the Preakness Stakes for the 135th time on Saturday.

If you read what I wrote before the race, you know that I suggested that the death of Skip Away on Friday could be an omen. In a way, I guess, that is precisely what it turned out to be.

Skip Away was widely expected to do well in the 1996 Kentucky Derby, but ran an unexpectedly poor race. He bounced back, though, and finished second in both the Preakness and the Belmont.

Anyway, Super Saver, the winner of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, finished out of the money in the Preakness, guaranteeing that there will be no Triple Crown winner in 2010.

That's a familiar refrain. We have had no Triple Crown winner since 1978.

Initially, it didn't look that way. Super Saver never really took the lead, but he was near the lead until the far turn. And then a funny thing happened. Super Saver got boxed in, with three horses in front of him and horses on either side, and he never threatened to take the lead again.

Meanwhile, Lookin at Lucky, the second pick on Saturday, was back in the pack through most of the Kentucky Derby. He performed better in the sunshine at Pimlico than he did in the slop at Churchill Downs, running fifth or sixth until the final three furlongs, then making a move that put him in the lead for good.

Perhaps Skip Away's death was an omen.

Anyway, we will know in three weeks whether we had a near–miss for the Triple Crown or not. If Super Saver or Lookin at Lucky win the Belmont, a horse will have won two of the three races in the Triple Crown for the 19th time since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. But if some other horse wins the Belmont, it will be the 14th time that three different horses have won the Triple Crown races.

One thing we know for sure. There will be no hat trick in 2010.

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