I just finished watching the Belmont Stakes and I knew that everyone's favorite horse faced an uphill battle in winning the Triple Crown. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, California Chrome only needed one more victory at the Belmont to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978.
Only it didn't happen. She didn't even finish in the top three, and just like many of the other horses who have won the first two legs she came up very short and it wasn't even close. The Belmont is just a different race since it's one and a half miles long, and honestly it will take a very special horse to close the deal.
After the race, California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn let loose a rant about other horses getting to race in the Belmont only, creating an advantage for other horses who would be "fresher" than those who ran in the prior two legs. He believes that only horses that have run in the first two legs be available to run in the Belmont.
I can see his point, but there are serious holes in it. First, the Triple Crown is not a tournament, it is a series of horse races. Much like a pro golf tournament, players qualify and play or don't play depending on the circumstances of the week. That doesn't mean Tiger Woods and those who play in the British Open can only play in the Masters. Your horse is trying to win the Triple Crown, and whoever wins the Kentucky Derby is the only after that who can win it so it opens the field to everyone.
Second, if only the horses running in the Kentucky Derby are eligible, how many horses would be left to run the Belmont? What is the motivation for any horse to run the Belmont if they finished last in the Kentucky Derby?
Like I said, I can understand his frustration....but, ultimately if you're going to win all three your horse has to be amazing. Just ask Secretariat, or Affirmed. There is a reason their names are legendary well outside of horse racing circles.
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