05/31/2002 12:00AM

History Challenge answers

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1. As a 2-year-old in 1918, Billy Kelly won 14 of 17 starts and was acclaimed co-champion with his arch rival Eternal. There was great anticipation when the two met in the 1919 Kentucky Derby. Eternal was a slight favorite.

Billy Kelly's owner, John K.L. Ross, brought his maiden Sir Barton along to guarantee there would be enough pace to press Eternal and set it up for his champion.

In three races at Saratoga the year before, Billy Kelly had defeated Sir Barton by a combined total of more than 50 lengths.

After winning the Triple Crown, Sir Barton went on to win other major stakes, but Billy Kelly was often around to steal the limelight.

In Sir Barton's first post-Derby meeting with Billy Kelly - an allowance race at Havre de Grace that fall - Billy Kelly won.

When Sir Barton made his first start as a 4-year-old, Billy Kelly beat him in the Belair Handicap at Havre de Grace.

Seven months later, when Sir Barton ran the final race of his career, the best he could do was finish second - to Billy Kelly.

2. Besides Citation, four other Triple Crown winners did not win the three races in succession.

Ten days after winning the Preakness, Sir Barton won the one-mile Withers Stakes. His Belmont Stakes win came 18 days later.

Two weeks after winning the Preakness in 1935, Omaha ran second in the Withers. He won the Belmont Stakes two weeks later.

Ten days after his Preakness win and 18 days before the Belmont Stakes in 1941, Whirlaway won a $2,500 allowance race at Belmont.

In 1943, Count Fleet won the Withers two weeks after the Preakness and two weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

3. Ben Jones was the trainer of record for Citation in the 1948 Kentucky Derby. His son, Horace "Jimmy" Jones, returned as trainer for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Jimmy had trained Citation from the beginning, but Ben knew a victory in the 1948 Derby would tie him at four with H.J. "Dick" Thompson for the Derby win record.

In a 2001 Daily Racing Form interview published just months before he died at age 94, Jimmy said, "That wasn't right."

Jones recalled that he nearly split with his father over the incident, but he knew he was working for the most successful racing operation in the country and he couldn't leave.

4. Neither Gallant Fox nor Assault were favored in their Belmont Stakes.

Whichone, the 1929 juvenile champion owned by Harry Payne Whitney, missed the 1930 Derby and Preakness because of sore knees, but was the 4-5 favorite over Gallant Fox (8-5) in the Belmont. (These were bookmaker odds. New York did not go parimutuel until 1940.)

After winning the 1946 Kentucky Derby by a record eight lengths at 8-1, Assault took the Preakness as the 7-5 favorite by a neck over Lord Boswell.

In the Belmont Stakes, Assault's post-time odds were 1.40-1. Lord Boswell was sent off at 1.35-1.

Writing in the 1946 edition of "American Race Horses," Joe Palmer said, "Since Assault had been weakening at the end of the Preakness, it was considered that the mile and a half of the Belmont Stakes would give Lord Boswell the advantage."

5. Counting Man o' War in 1920, seven horses who won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes did not make the trip to Kentucky.

The other Derby no-shows were Cloverbrook (1877), Duke of Magenta (1878), Grenada (1880), Saunterer (1881), Belmar (1895), and Pillory (1922).

After 1922, 10 horses won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, but not the Derby - including such greats as Native Dancer, Nashua, and Damascus - but all were starters in the Kentucky Derby.