I’m so disappointed. I’m not really a big race horse fan but I do enjoy the Triple Crown. I mean, it’s history. It’s USA sports history and I like that. But just today, Friday the 8th of June, I'll Have Another's bid for the first Triple Crown in 34 years ended shockingly in the barn and not on the racetrack Friday when the colt was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes and retired with a swollen tendon. "It's been an incredible ride, an incredible run," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "It's a bummer. It's not tragic, but it's a huge disappointment."
I’ll say. But I’m glad they are taking care of the horse and not pushing him. It seemed this horse had a chance to win the Triple Crown since he was bred for distance and that’s just what Belmont is. A grueling one and a half mile race, the longest of the three races. I haven’t seen a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed beat Alydar by a nose in the most exciting race I’ve ever seen. Affirmed, ranked the 12th greatest racehorse of all time beat the great Alydar by a nose to win the Belmont Stakes. I can still remember them coming around the final turn neck and neck. Halfway down the home stretch Alydar took a lead by a nose. As they charged to the finish Affirmed got even, then got his nose in front just as they passed the finish line. It was breathtaking. Affirmed and Alydar went 1-2 in all three races. It was history.
The year before Affirmed won ‘em all I had the privilege of watching Seattle Slew, ranked the 9th greatest horse of all time win the Triple Crown. Slew overcame a number of obstacles to win all three races proving him to be one of the greatest racehorses of all time. That made two years in a row that we had a Triple Crown winner and we haven’t had one since.
But in 1973 I witnessed probably the greatest race horse ever. He ran a Kentucky Derby record of 1:59.4 that still stands to this day. He then turned around and won the Preakness to put himself in position to win the Triple Crown, the first in 25 years. But he had to win the Belmont, a distance race, and Secretariats’ pedigree was for speed. It was doubted he could beat Sham in a longer race. As the Belmont started Secretariat broke out at a record pace and stayed on it. No horse could maintain this pace for a mile, let alone a mile and a half. As Secretariat rounded the final turn he had a 10 length lead over Sham. Instead of slowing down he thundered down the home stretch like a machine, widening the lead to 15 lengths, then 20, then 25, and as he crossed the finish line he had won by an astounding 31 lengths, setting a Belmont record that also stands to this day. Secretariat’s performance was horse racing legend. I didn’t realize at the time I was witnessing the greatest horse ever, but I do now.
So you see, I was hoping Saturday June 9th was going to be one of those special days in American sports history. I was hoping I’ll Have Another was going to prove himself to be one of the few “super horses” and that I would get to watch history again. But it was not to be as a swollen tendon took away that chance. He’s still a heckuva horse, but is he great? We’ll never know. Chiefpigskin.com