If you thought that we might have a Triple Crown contender this year for the first time in 33 years, hopefully by now the a few days after the Preakness, the disappointment has worn off.
Despite a spirited effort and a close finish, Animal Kingdom was simply unable to catch Shackleford to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
It’s somewhat of a disappointing result for me. Not only did I lose my bet, but I was hoping the horse-racing industry would get a shot in the arm of intense media coverage, publicity and excitement if there was a potential Triple Crown winner, but it was not to be.
Credit must be given to Shackleford’s performance which was very impressive. Shackleford showed tremendous determination and endurance to be able to hold off the onslaught of Animal Kingdom and Flashpoint. The only problem is that the world won’t remember Shackleford, the industry will, but for the world to remember history has to be made. That’s why I was pulling for Animal Kingdom to win the Preakness, and he came within a half-length of keeping that hope alive.
While we won’t have a possible Triple Crown winner this year, we still have the Belmont Stakes to look forward to. The best scenario the industry can hope for to spark more interest and more coverage is a rematch between Shackleford and Animal Kingdom in the Belmont Stakes.
A day after the race, uncertainty of a rematch at the Belmont was in the air. In a Sunday press release from Horseracing insider, Animal Kingdom trainer Graham Motion said that he and owner Barry Irwin would like to run the horse in the Belmont and would “see how he is, and wait a week or so before we make any decision.”
As for Shackleford, Trainer Dale Romans thought about going to the Belmont right away but felt it best to get the horse with his regular team and watch him train a few days before making a final decision. Romans said the final decision would be up to owner Mike Lauffel.
Should the two horses face each other in the Belmont, it will be the 20th time in history the Kentucky Derby winner and the Preakness winner have faced off in the final leg of the Triple Crown. In the 19 previous times, the Derby winner has won four times (Shut Out, 1942; Needles, 1956; Chateaugay, 1963; Swale, 1984).
The Preakness winner has won the rubber match nine times (Cloverbrook, 1877; Bimelech, 1940; Damascus, 1967; Little Current, 1974; Risen Star, 1988; Hansel, 1991; Tabasco Cat 1994; Point Given, 2001; Afleet Alex, 2005).
The way the Triple Crown has played out so far, it probably won’t be either horse that wins the Belmont, but it makes for a great story and build up to the final leg of the Triple Crown.