Trouble attaining the Triple Crown
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, June 09, 2012
6/09/12 at 4:28 AM
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Original Print Headline: Triple trouble
It's been 34 years since Affirmed last won horse racing's Triple Crown, and the drought - which now seems more like a curse - continued Friday when it was announced that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another would not race in Saturday's Belmont Stakes because of an injury. Here is a look at the most recent near misses in the pursuit of racing's Triple Crown:
2008: Big Brown
A prohibitive favorite, Big Brown did not even finish the race. "He's just out of gas," jockey Kent Desormeaux explained. Nick Zito-trained Da'Tara was the winner - at 38-to-1.
2004: Smarty Jones
Smarty Jones was a tremendously popular horse and, at 1-to-5, the heaviest Belmont Stakes favorite since Spectacular Bid in 1979. Birdstone - at 36-to-1 - rallied late to edge Smarty Jones win by a length.
2003: Funny Cide
In winning the Preakness by 10 lengths, New York-bred Funny Cide may have peaked too soon. In the Belmont Stakes, Funny Cide finished third - 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Empire Maker.
2002: War Emblem
After stumbling badly out of the gate, War Emblem moved to the lead just before the final turn but tired down the stretch. At 70-to-1, Sarava became the longest shot ever to win the Belmont Stakes. On a $2 bet, there was a return of $142.50.
After finishing third - 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Lemon Drop Kid - Charismatic was transported from the track in a trailer. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner had sustained a career-ending leg injury.
1998: Real Quiet
At the end of a classic duel, Victory Gallop edged Real Quiet by a nose. It was the closest Belmont Stakes finish since 1978, when Affirmed withstood Alydar to win the Belmont Stakes - and the Triple Crown.
1997: Silver Charm
Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby by a head and the Preakness by a head. During the final quarter-mile of the Belmont Stakes, however, Silver Charm was passed by Touch Gold. Silver Charm was beaten by three-quarters of a length.
1989: Sunday Silence
In advance of the Belmont Stakes, Sunday Silence's training routine was disrupted by a bruised foot. Easy Goer had a fairly easy trip at Belmont, beating Sunday Silence by eight lengths.
There was no drama in this race. Alysheba finished fourth as Bet Twice won the Belmont Stakes by 14 lengths.
1981: Pleasant Colony
After having prevailed in the Wood Memorial, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, Pleasant Colony "needed a break," trainer Johnny Campo said. Summing won the Belmont Stakes. A fatigued Pleasant Colony finished third.
1979: Spectacular Bid
Spectacular Bid finished third behind Belmont Stakes winner Coastal and Golden Act. After the race, Spectacular Bid trainer Buddy Delp reported that his horse's gait was affected by a safety pin that had become embedded in the left front hoof.
Smarty Jones, with jockey Stewart Elliott, wins the 2004 Preakness in Baltimore. Associated Press file
JAMES CRISP/Associated Press file
Jockey Jose Santos rides Funny Cide to the finish line to win the 2003 Kentucky Derby. Associated Press file