It’s been 35 years since a horse has won a Triple Crown, which means that for those who are 35 years and under – including yours truly – we have never, in our lifetime, witnessed a horse win the Triple Crown.
It’s a real pity that it hasn’t happened since 1978. There have been numerous times when a horse entered the Belmont with a chance to win the Crown, only to fall short in the end. Just two years ago, I’ll Have Another was poised to do it, except that his owner decided to not even race her in the Belmont.
So here we are. It’s now 2014 and still that elusive Triple Crown has been, well, pretty shittin’ elusive. But on the flip side, this could very well be the year that the 35-year drought ends.
No pressure, California Chrome.
The prized stallion, fresh off of dominating the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, has a chance to make history by winning the Belmont Stakes. Current odds for Chrome to do pull it off are at 1/2, which means that just about everybody with any remote interest in the chase for the crown are expecting Chrome to actually get the job done. Of course, this narrative has been written in the past only for the horse to stumble in the last leg of the chase.
From 1997, eight horses have come within one race of winning the Triple Crown. Three of them finished second at the Belmont; two finished third; one finished eighth; one did not finish; and one didn’t even participate.
Shortly after winning the Preakness, it even looked like California Chrome would follow in the footsteps of I’ll Have Another and skip the Belmont because of some issues with nasal strips. Fortunately for everybody involved, the New York Racing Association cleared the use of these nasal strips on all participating horses, removing another stumbling block in California Chrome’s historical chase.
The Belmont Stakes opens its gate on June 7, giving California Chrome a little over two weeks to prepare of this date with history. We’re all rooting for the stallion to pull it off, if only for our own selfish reasons.
It’s been too long since the last Triple Crown winner and to be honest, a lot of us have waited long enough.
Go get it, California Chrome!