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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vying for the Triple Crown!




Yeah, that's right.  We're going to talk a little horse racing.  The Jazz season is over, BYU football doesn't start for another 3 months and I don't have a baseball team that I follow (I'll leave the Baseball talk up to the Fat One), so you get to listen to me go on about horses.  

For quite a few years now I have taken some interest in the Triple Crown.  I say Triple Crown rather than using the general term of horse racing because it's not so much the racing that interests me but rather the history that goes along with it.  

Back in May of 2002 Amanda and I found ourselves lounging around our Bountiful apartment on a Saturday afternoon with no plans and nothing to do.  Bored, and with nothing to watch on the tv, we stopped on the channel that was covering the Preakness Stakes, which happened to be on that day.  

As a part of the pre-race build up they spent a lot of time promoting the Triple Crown.  I didn't know anything about it at the time and found myself being really intrigued at what was being said.  After learning that it is a task of near impossibility, our excitement grew even more when we watched the Derby winner, War Emblem, take the race that day clinching 2/3 of what is horse racing's greatest honor.  

With great anticipation, we tuned in 3 weeks later only to watch War Emblem fall short in the Belmont stakes.  Though we didn't witness a Triple Crown Winner at that time, each year since then we have followed the races in hopes of seeing a horse accomplish the feat.

You might be wondering what the big deal is with the Triple Crown.  Let me give you a little history and maybe you'll understand a little better.

In order to win the Triple Crown, a horse must win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes all in the same year.  That's three long races, in three different states, in a span of 5 weeks.  Sounds simple right?  I mean, come on, how many times have you seen your favorite team win 3 in a row?  It's actually harder than it sounds.

Since 1875 (the first time all three races were ran in the same year) only 11 horses have been able to succeed in winning the Triple Crown.  That's 11 horses in 132 years of racing.  The last horse to do so was a horse by the name of Affirmed who won it back in 1978. 

Since 1978 11 horses have won the first two legs only to fall short in the Belmont Stakes.  You might remember the names Smarty Jones, and Funny Cide, some of the more recent horses (within the last few years) that gave their all to make history only to lose in the third and final race.

That brings us to this year.  Big Brown, a horse that is being called by many in the racing circles as the most dominating horse since Secretariet, has taken the first two legs with relative ease, really without even being pushed by the competition.  

On June 7 he will run in the Belmont Stakes and many believe will be the horse to finally end the 30 year Triple Crown drought.  He's that good, in fact, he is believed to be better than just good and will prove that when he takes his place amongst a dozen great horses to do what thousands of horses who came before him couldn't.

Will he be regarded within the same category of such horses as Secretariat and Seattle Slew, or War Admiral (the horse that ran against Seabiscuit)?  Horses that rose to the occasion and proved that they were something great by winning it all, or will he be another horse that got close but was unable to seal the deal.  We'll find out in less than three weeks.

They believe the possible spoiler in the upcoming race is a Japan based horse by the name Casino Drive.  He hasn't ran in a whole lot of races but the ones he has ran in he has done very well.  Should be a good match-up. 

Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby

16 comments:

Vanessa said...

Did you really just blog about horse racing? What about the Celtics beating the Cavs? That is pretty sports worthy!

SittinDeadRed said...

Why, yes I did.

The Celtics and who? I thought the NBA season ended when the Jazz lost to the Lakers.

Tikes said...

Wow Shane....I am aghast at what I read.

What is next? Dog racing? Perhaps cock fighting? I think there is significant history there.

SittinDeadRed said...

Oh, come on Tikes! Aghast? Really?

Aghast: overcome with amazement or horror.

The only way you should be aghast at this post is if you are a card carrying member of PETA. If that's the case, come back later when I do a post on Rodeos. That should really horrify you.

Tune in, watch this horse make history, and then tell me if aghast is the word you would use to describe what you saw.

Speaking of cock fighting. Amanda and I lived for a short period of time in Puerto Rico. Right down the road from our little apartment was a cock fighting arena. They had events all the time.

It never caught my interest. Had I known then though how valuable that information would be to this blog I would have went. Sorry to let you down.

Tikes said...

I think aghast was the correct word choice....I can say that I watch ESPN with regularity and have knowledge of Big Brown, and can remember well the hoopla surrounding Smarty Jones, Eight Belles, and all the drama with injections prior to the race and Barbaro. Jim Rome is a horse owner, and he shares quite a bit of insider information.

Wasn't it President Hinckley that encouraged us to get as much education as possible? If so I think that includes going down to the local cock fighting underground ring to get in the loop. Just to educate yourself.

Anonymous said...

I went to several cock fights on my mission in the Dominican Republic. They are pretty entertaining, if you are in to animal cruelty. But I am NOT a Peta member. Plus. . .I just like the chance to say the word "cock".

Elton

And PS, I'm rooting for the Hornets.

SittinDeadRed said...

I don't know what exactly goes on behind the scenes and am not privy to Jim Romes insider information. I am sure things occur that could be questioned as being unethical and won't argue that point. I would bet though that such infractions are the exception rather than being the norm.

I don't see anything wrong with what happened to Smarty Jones. It was a terrible accident, one which he recovered from very well and went on to have a great year. In the end the his owners did the ethical thing by retiring him at an early age to avoid any possible injuries. I'm sure his life now is pretty nice.

What happened to Barbaro was unfortunate. The biggest mistake made with him though was not putting him down like they did Eight Belles. Trying to save him to appease the public was unethical in my opinion.

Accidents happen. It's sad but true. Is that to say that horse racing is all bad because of a few isolated events? I don't think so.

With as much money invested in these horses I am sure that the horse owners aren't purposely putting their animals in a position that would increase their odds of getting hurt.

Like I said in my post I am not necessarily a horse racing fan. I enjoy following the triple crown. I think the thoroughbred is a magnificent horse and am amazed at the amount of money that is put into them. That's about as far as my interests go.

I will say that to use the word aghast to describe a post on horse racing in my opinion is an over exaggeration. Then to follow it up by comparing it to cock fighting is ridiculous.

Maybe it is due to my ignorance but I don't find anything horrible about my post.

Tikes said...

There is nothing horrible about your post. I simply stated that I was aghast that you posted about horse racing. I never knew that your love of sports was so broad.

SittinDeadRed said...

What can I say? I'm well rounded.

Vanessa said...

Quit fighting you two. And for the record, I hate that word. We have some sweet ROOSTER fighting pics, we'll post them. If I could just get Elton to register and come up with a password. Could you send that again?

SittinDeadRed said...

I don't have his password. It should be his own account.

SittinDeadRed said...

Elton,

Why am I not surprised at you contribution to the post?

Why don't you be our inside source into Cock Fighting? I'll be expecting a post from you soon. Sounds like you would enjoy the assignment.

The Hornets huh? This might be the first time in history that you and I actually cheer for the same team.

Anyone but the Lakers. I'm already tired of listening to El Chinote go on about his team.

Fat One said...

I love that a post on horse racing ended up being the best banter we have seen on this site up until now.
As far as horse racing goes, I did not know there was any one from Utahr that took an interest other than me. I too only watch the triple crown, and Big Brown just toyed with the other horses on Saturday. He is a beast and I am excited to see a triple crown won. The last one happened when I was less thank a year old, so it is rare and I hope to see it happen.
Talk about cock fighting, I saw one just happen in the posts above... just kidding.

SittinDeadRed said...

Fighting? No, we were just discussing. That's all it was. A discussion, nothing more.

To prove that there are no hard feelings I will go on record and predict that there will be at least one 6-4-3 double play turned by Tikes and I this evening. It will be a thing of beauty. I'll post about it tomorrow.

Don't be surprised when you go into the dentists office and on the wall you find he and I captured in a motivational poster for teamwork.

LUNCH BOX said...

wow...horse racing edwards? "you serious clark??" COME ON BIG BROWN...SHOW ME THE TITLE!!!

your biggest fan,

secretariat

SittinDeadRed said...

You didn't really mean "see you next season", did you? Remind me again why I'm even your friend. :-)

(I find myself using that smiley face quite a bit now)

Welcome back to the mainland by the way.