06/02/2013 1:27PM

When Derby, Preakness Winners Collide

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In the last 40 years, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness have been won by different horses 25 times. (The other 15 years, the Derby winner won the Preakness, with Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed going on to win Triple Crowns, the next 11 losing the Belmont, and I'll Have Another scratching from the race last year.)

Of those 25 years in which the first two legs of the Triple Crown had different winners, both returned to square off in the Belmont only 12 times, with one or both skipping the final leg in the other 13 years.

Here is how those dozen Belmont Stakes faceoffs between a Derby winner and a Preakness winner turned out:

 

That's six victories for the Preakness winner, just one by the Derby winner and five by neither of the above. (According to the NYRA, there have been a total of 21 such faceoffs, and if you include the nine others before 1973, the tally is 9-5 in favor of Preakness winners.)

This may be worth keeping in mind if Derby winner Orb is roughly 9-5 with Preakness winner Oxbow more like 6-1 in Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Or maybe not: It's a small sample that might be misleading, and there's also a case to be made that the relative success of Preakness winners may reflect something that may not be true this year: Something went wrong in the Derby for those six colts -- all of whom went on to be recognized as the best in their crop and named champion 3-year-old. The perception so far this year, rightly or not, seems to be that Orb's Derby was the true bill and Oxbow stole the Preakness while Orb didn't fire his best shot.

Only twice in this span have the winners of the first two legs accounted for the Belmont exacta: Tabasco Cat-Go For Gin in 1994 (that exacta paid $19.20), and Hansel-Strike the Gold ($39.20) in 1991. That's the same number of times that both the Derby and Preakness winner finished off the board: In 2011, when Shackleford and Animal Kingdom were 5th and 6th, and in 1993, when Sea Hero was 7th and Prairie Bayou did not finish. The $2 trifecta payouts those two years were $8,268 for Ruler on Ice-Stay Thirsty-Brilliant Speed and $18,677 for Colonial Affair-Kissin Kris-Wild Gale.

Here's the full list of Triple Crown results since 1973:

 

 

Bob F. More than 1 year ago
The Obvious choice is a continuation of the "letter" of the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. O, by the way; when the name of the only horse who beat Man Of War was chosen, he was named long before anyone new who Man Of War was or would be, and Native Dancer in his only defeat, just like Man Of War, that horse also had a name chosen long before. The choice is sometime made by God or his Angels, but always to present us mortals with a mystery. I am absolutely convinced that O will be the first letter of the name of the horse who wins the Belmont Stakes. I know, I know what your thinking; is this guy dreaming is he for real and "what a joke". Well, we all have been a witness too many a strange outcome of a race, and I think another one is going too happen on June 8 in the Belmont Stakes. The "O" horse. Overanalyze will win.
jjmdec More than 1 year ago
time to change triple crown rules
Cris McHenka More than 1 year ago
This is a great betting race. There could be one of those high paying exactas. I like Orb but if there is one jockey who can ride for a big check its Mike Smith. Since his horse will now be able to see and the mud did not bother him in KY this could be the horse. Another bet I like is the Canadian horse that ran second in KY. Those two together could be a heck of an exacta.
Frank More than 1 year ago
We are in for a good Belmont. This is a very good crop of 3yr olds this year I think.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
The difference this year to the last few years is that there are a few horses in the field that are not only bred to go long but have the form to be prime contenders...i would include GOLDEN SOUL,ORB,OXBOW,PALACE MALICE,INCOGNITO AND REVOLUTIONARY on that list....where as last year it really looked on paper like a two horse race between UNION RAGS and PAYNTER the others looked outclasssed ...the year before you had ANIMAL KINGDOM a turf horse that had won the derby because everybody else had distance limitations facing a distance limited SHACKLEFORD and a bunch of sub par 3yos in RULER ON ICE,STAY THIRSTY and company...i would say that we have gotten bad belmont winners when there are no true stayers in the field D"ATARA,SARAVA come to mind...but usually a top 3yo wins i would include LEMON DROP KID,BIRDSTONE,AFLEET ALEX,SUMMER BIRD,EMPIRE MAKER,UNION RAGS,POINT GIVEN as examples.....this year i believe will be one of those and the winner will come from OXBOW,REVOLUTIONARY,GOLDEN SOUL or ORB.....with how the track is playing the determining factor as to who to pick on top.
Mel More than 1 year ago
Love the Godzilla vs King Kong image -- great analogy. I love Orb, so despite my better judgement, I'm probably going to be rooting for him during the weekend's horse racing at Belmont. Would like to see him win at least 2 of the triple crown races.
russell More than 1 year ago
Im not a big fan of this list but one thing is pretty clear, the best horse usually won in these rematch races. There is no WAY Oxbow is a better horse than Orb. The Belmont is shaping up as a good betting race. All the DRF clockers are saying Freedom Child looks awesome.
Wabstat More than 1 year ago
Maybe I'm nuts, but my race flow figs show that every race Orb has won, the pace has collapsed. If the pace is sensible, another upset awaits.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Should of been 3 TC winners in that bunch, ...Pt Gven, baffert had him short-yum brands Afleet Alex, the post beat him, not Giacomo @ a cee note......smarty jones.....stewart Elliott, didn't know track enough, moved too early.........everthing points against ORB
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I have to give mad props in an awed tribute to the great filly, Genuine Risk. These statistics in the article above bring up her Triple Crown record. She performed with all heart in each Jewel of the Triple Crown: 1st in the Kentucky Derby; 2nd in the Preakness (after being arguably interfered with in the stretch by Codex in the Preakness); and 2nd in the Belmont. Genuine Risk has been underrated and mostly unheralded for her amazing accomplishments. I give her my applause and a standing ovation. Way to go, Genuine Risk - a great credit to your breed, my girl! Rest in peace, Great Champion!