“I cannot fathom what kind of freaks the Triple Crown champions were.”

So said Jockey Kent Desormeaux after Big Brown’s disappointing run in the Belmont stakes yesterday.

It’s been 30 years since a horse won racing’s Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. But it wasn’t always so. In the 1970s, there were three Triple Crown Winners!

In 1978, Affirmed stuck a nose in front of Alydar as he came under the wire. The duel between the two horses is a magnificent piece of racing.

In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown in 1977 on a heavy, muddy track running at the front of the field most of the way and pulling ahead decisively at the end of the race.

And in 1973, the great Secretariat blew the field away, finishing 31 lengths in front of his nearest competitor.

I think many people felt complacent about the Triple Crown after watching these horses. This was a time when the Triple Crown seemed attainable and horse racing was, perhaps, at its peak. 30 years later, we have people saying that this combination of races is too much to ask of a three-year old horse; perhaps they should look back in history and figure out what it was that enabled it to be won in the past. Has thoroughbred breeding emphasized early speed and short distances to the detriment of the sport? Or have we just seen a string of bad luck due to the whims of Lady Luck?

One thought on ““I cannot fathom what kind of freaks the Triple Crown champions were.”

  1. I think it’s in the breeding. We have to quit retiring horses that have injuries to the breeding shed. Instead only breed those animals that have raced and STAYED sound. That I think Is the key.

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