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Out at third: Triple Crown denied
Over the previous 36 Triple Crown seasons, 13 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but have been unable to close the deal in the Belmont. One of those, I’ll Have Another in 2012, never made it to the starting gate; the others were derailed by fate, circumstance, or just a better horse on that day. Each day leading up to this year's Belmont, we will take a look at one of the 13 failed attempts at capturing Thoroughbred racing’s most-elusive prize. Today: California Chrome.
2014 California Chrome
Derby-Preakness winner: California Chrome (ch. c., Lucky Pulpit-Love the Chase, by Not For Love)
Owner: Perry Martin and Steve Coburn
Trainer: Art Sherman
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Belmont winner: Tonalist (b. c., Tapit-Settling Mist, by Pleasant Colony)
Owner: Robert S. Evans
Trainer: Christophe Clement
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Triple Trouble: California Chrome appeared to have a pace advantage in the Belmont, but he did not get away cleanly from the gate when stepped on by Matterhorn, which opened a gash on the heel of his right front hoof. After racing in traffic, he was taken to the middle of the track and launched a brave bid while wide on the far turn, but through the lane did not have the same acceleration he showed in the Derby and Preakness and had to settle for a dead heat for fourth, beaten less than two lengths. Tonalist, forwardly placed throughout and kept outside horses, wore down front-running Commissioner in deep stretch to win the race by a head. Tonalist, who had prepped for the Belmont with a victory in the Peter Pan, was making his Triple Crown race debut, an itinerary that Steve Coburn, the minority partner in California Chrome, animatedly called “the coward’s way out” when interviewed immediately following the race by Kenny Rice of NBC Sports.
California Chrome postscript: He did not return to the races until September in the Pennsylvania Derby, in which he finished sixth, but he rebounded to finish a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic behind fellow 3-year-olds Bayern and Toast of New York. That was initially intended to be the final start of the year for California Chrome, but trainer Art Sherman was so impressed with the way California Chrome came out of the race that he put him in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, fulfilling a long-held desire to get California Chrome on the turf. Sherman’s riverboat gamble paid off handsomely, for California Chrome won the race, and the pendulum swung back into his corner among Eclipse Award voters, who selected him as both Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male. This year, California Chrome was second to Shared Belief in the San Antonio before finishing second in the Dubai World Cup, his most-recent start. After that race, majority owner Perry Martin re-routed California Chrome to Britain, where California Chrome is now housed in the stables of trainer Rae Guest, preparing for an intended start in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17.
Tonalist postscript: He returned at Saratoga and was second in the Jim Dandy and third in the Travers before winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup against older horses in the fall at Belmont. After finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he was given a lengthy winter vacation and did not make his 2015 debut until May 2, the day of the Kentucky Derby, when he won the Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park in a prep for his next scheduled start, the Metropolitan Mile on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 6.
2012 I’ll Have Another
Derby-Preakness winner: I’ll Have Another (ch. c., Flower Alley-Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch)
Owner: Reddam Racing LLC
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Belmont winner: Union Rags (b. c., Dixie Union-Tempo, by Gone West)
Owner: Chadds Ford Stable
Trainer: Michael Matz
Jockey: John Velazquez
Triple Trouble: I’ll Have Another holds the inglorious distinction of being the only Derby-Preakness winner since Affirmed who did not make it to the Belmont. He was retired the day before the Belmont when owner Paul Reddam announced he had a tendon injury. In his absence, Union Rags won an anti-climactic Belmont, rallying up the rail in deep stretch to defeat Paynter by a neck.
I’ll Have Another postscript: Two weeks after the Belmont, I’ll Have Another was sold to Japanese interests, and he began stud duty at Big Red Farm on Hokkaido in spring 2013. His first foals are now yearlings. His 2015 stud fee is 3.2 million Japanese yen, the equivalent of approximately $26,240.
Union Rags postscript: He never raced again. One month after the Belmont, he, too, was retired, also with a tendon injury, having won five times in eight starts. He entered stud in 2013 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, where he currently stands, his 2015 stud fee advertised as $35,000. His first foals are yearlings.
2008 Big Brown
Derby-Preakness winner: Big Brown (b. c., Boundary-Mien, by Nureyev)
Owner: IEAH Stable and Paul Pompa Jr.
Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Belmont winner: Da’ Tara (dk. b. or br. c., Tiznow-Torchera, by Pirate’s Bounty)
Owner: Robert LaPenta
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Alan Garcia
Triple Trouble: Big Brown had won the Derby and Preakness with relative ease and came into the Belmont unbeaten in five starts, but the weeks between the Preakness and Belmont did not go well. Most significantly, he developed a nasty quarter crack on his left front hoof, missed several days of training, and only had one workout between the races. It was not ideal preparation, and savvy handicappers took a stand against him on a hot, sweltering day. Big Brown shied from the starter leaving the gate, had a shoe become dislodged, was rank early in the race when behind horses when not sent to the lead, and seemed out of sorts early on. Nearing the far turn, he got near the leaders, but had trouble keeping up on the turn and was eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux near the top of the stretch. Meanwhile, Da’ Tara, the longest shot in the race at 38-1, led the field from start to finish in one of the strangest runnings in Belmont history. Plenty of blame was cast about following the Belmont, with much attention on the pre-race admission from trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. that he had taken Big Brown off the then-legal steroids he had been administering. But that assumes Big Brown had an advantage in prior Triple Crown races because he was on steroids and his rivals were not, and that’s simply an unknowable, likely erroneous, assumption.
Big Brown postscript: He raced twice more, winning both the Haskell and then, on turf, the Monmouth against older horses, but was injured before the Breeders’ Cup and retired. He was named champion 3-year-old male of 2008 and entered stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky. He was relocated to New York for the 2015 breeding season, where he stands at Dutchess Views Farm for an advertised stud fee of $8,500. He is the sire of Dortmund, who this year won the Santa Anita Derby and was third in the Kentucky Derby.
Da’ Tara postscript: He never won again. He raced 11 more times over the next 1 1/2 years, finishing out of the money in all four graded stakes in which he entered and failing to win five times when dropped into allowance company. He retired with 2 wins in 19 starts, with $600,000 of the $743,090 he earned during his career gleaned from the Belmont. He was sold at auction at Keeneland in November 2010 for $180,000, was put back in training in 2011, never raced, and is now at stud in Venezuela at Haras Los Aguacates.
2004 Smarty Jones
Derby-Preakness winner: Smarty Jones (ch. c., Elusive Quality-I’ll Get Along, by Smile)
Owner: Someday Farm
Trainer: John Servis
Jockey: Stewart Elliott
Belmont winner: Birdstone (b. c., Grindstone-Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird)
Owner: Marylou Whitney Stables
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Edgar Prado
Triple Trouble: Smarty Jones entered the Belmont having won all eight of his previous starts and was seeking to emulate Seattle Slew as capturing the Triple Crown while still unbeaten, but a blistering midrace pace cost him dearly in the final furlong and he was caught by Birdstone, who had not run since finishing eighth to Smarty Jones in the Derby. The crowd of 120,139, which was roaring at the top of the stretch, fell into an eerie silence as the horses crossed the wire. Smarty Jones flew through the third quarter-mile of the race in 23.11 seconds, and the middle half-mile of the race went in a quick 46.79. It was an unsustainable pace. In the decade since, there are those who have blamed Jerry Bailey, on Eddington, and Alex Solis, on Rock Hard Ten, for moving prematurely. But what were they supposed to do – simply hand the race to a colt who had never been beaten? Smarty Jones was in a tactical position to wait out the aggressive tactics. Instead, he and jockey Stewart Elliott dived into the vortex and were swept away. Considering the middle fractions, he ran a remarkable race.
Smarty Jones postscript: He never raced again. Less than two months after the Belmont, Smarty Jones was retired because of chronic bruising in all four fetlocks. His racing career lasted all of seven months. He was voted the champion 3-year-old male of 2004 and entered stud the following spring at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky after being syndicated at a value of $39 million. He was relocated to his state of birth, Pennsylvania, in 2012, and currently stands at Northview Stallion Station’s Pennsylvania division for an advertised 2015 stud fee of $4,000.
Birdstone postscript: He was nothing if not opportunistic. He had won the Champagne Stakes as a 2-year-old, and later in the summer after capturing the Belmont added the Travers Stakes, winning the race just before a torrential thunderstorm hit Saratoga. In his only other start after the Belmont, he finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, after which he was retired because of an ankle chip, having won five times in nine starts. He has stood his entire career at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky, where his 2015 stud fee was advertised as $5,000. As a sire, he has produced Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont winner Summer Bird.
2003 Funny Cide
Derby-Preakness winner: Funny Cide (ch. g., Distorted Humor-Belle’s Good Cide, by Slewacide)
Owner: Sackatoga Stable
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Jockey: Jose Santos
:: Funny Cide's lifetime past performances
Belmont winner: Empire Maker (dk. b. or br. c., Unbridled-Toussaud, by El Gran Senor)
Owner: Juddmonte Farms Inc.
Trainer: Bobby Frankel
Jockey: Jerry Bailey
Triple Trouble: Empire Maker had beaten Funny Cide in their final Derby prep, the Wood Memorial, but he was compromised the week of the Derby with a foot bruise that impacted his training. He could only finish second in the Derby as Funny Cide pulled off the upset. Trainer Bobby Frankel decided to bypass the Preakness and point to the Belmont, and Empire Maker – now recovered from his ill-timed injury five weeks earlier – was ready for his absolute best and braved the sloppy track to beat a stubborn Ten Most Wanted, with Funny Cide fading to third after setting the pace. Funny Cide, who had romped by 9 3/4 lengths in the Preakness, had been too keen all week; he had a fast workout just days before the race.
Funny Cide postscript: He raced just twice more at age 3, and lost both times, but winning two-thirds of the Triple Crown carried him to a year-end title as champion 3-year-old male. A gelding, Funny Cide raced four more years, through age 7, retiring with 11 wins in 38 starts and more than $3.5 million in earnings, his biggest post-Belmont win coming at age 4 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was retired in the summer of 2007 and initially was a stable pony for trainer Barclay Tagg, but late in 2008 was relocated to the Kentucky Horse Park, where he currently resides.
Empire Maker postscript: He ran just once more, in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga, finishing second. After missing intended starts in the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup, he was retired prior to that year’s Breeders’ Cup. He initially went to stud at his birthplace, Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky, and sired such top runners as three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta, and Derby runner-ups Bodemeister and Pioneerof the Nile; through Pioneerof the Nile, he is the grandsire of American Pharoah. Empire Maker was later sold to the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association on Hokkaido, where he was relocated for the 2011 breeding season and where currently stands at stud. His 2015 stud fee is 3.5 million Japanese yen, the equivalent of approximately $28,800.
2002 War Emblem
Derby-Preakness winner: War Emblem (dk. b. or br. c., Our Emblem-Sweetest Lady, by Lord At War)
Owner: The Thoroughbred Corporation
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Belmont winner: Sarava (dk. b. or br. c., Wild Again-Rhythm of Life, by Deputy Minister)
Owner: New Phoenix Stable and Susan Roy
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Edgar Prado
Triple Trouble: War Emblem had used his sharp early speed to score front-running victories in both the Derby and Preakness, but he was a need-the-lead type of runner and when he stumbled badly at the start of the Belmont, he was in deep trouble. He courageously tried to get back into the race and even got to the front with a little more than a half-mile to go, but the early efforts and the distance took their tool and he faded to eighth in the field of 11 as 70-1 shot Sarava rallied to win. Sarava’s $142.50 win price is the biggest in Belmont history.
War Emblem postscript: He bounced back to win the Haskell in his first start following the Belmont, but finished out of the money in his only other two starts, in the Pacific Classic and Breeders’ Cup Classic, then was retired, though his resume was more than enough to secure the title as champion 3-year-old male. He was sold for stallion duty to the Yoshida family and was sent to Japan, but he has been hobbled by fertility problems for much of his stallion career, producing just 122 foals since 2003 and none since 2012. He resides at the Shadai Stallion Station in Japan.
Sarava postscript: He never won another race after the Belmont, and in fact never finished in the money in the eight subsequent starts he made while racing intermittently through age 5. After the Belmont, he did not race again until more than 13 months later, in California, having been turned over – ironically – to War Emblem’s trainer, Bob Baffert, for whom he raced the remainder of his career. He entered stud duty in Florida in 2005 and stood at stud there and Kentucky through 2012, but by fall 2012 had been pensioned from stud duty and relocated to Old Friends Farm in Kentucky, where he now lives.
Derby-Preakness winner: Charismatic (ch. c., Summer Squall-Bali Babe, by Drone)
Owner: Bob and Beverly Lewis
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Chris Antley
Belmont winner: Lemon Drop Kid (b. c., Kingmambo-Charming Lassie, by Seattle Slew)
Owner: Jeanne Vance
Trainer: Flint (Scotty) Schulhofer
Jockey: Jose Santos
Triple Trouble: Twice risked for a claiming price of $62,500 – including less than three months before the Triple Crown began – Charismatic blossomed in the spring of his 3-year-old year with a pair of upset victories in the Derby and Preakness. But in the Belmont, favored for the first time since his maiden win 11 starts earlier, he went wrong in deep stretch, crossed the wire third, then was pulled up soon after the finish by jockey Chris Antley, who jumped off the stricken colt, held tightly to the reins, and cradled his injured left front leg until medical assistance arrived, preventing Charismatic from doing more damage and greatly increasing his chances of survival.
Charismatic postscript: Though he was able to survive, the injuries he suffered in the Belmont were career-ending and thus he was immediately retired after racing 17 times in 50 weeks. No one accomplished more by year’s end, so he was named both Horse of the Year and champion male 3-year-old. He initially stood at stud at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, then was sold in 2002 to Japan, where he currently resides at a Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association facility on Hokkaido. He was listed as covering 17 mares in 2014, producing zero foals. As with Silver Charm – also owned by the Lewis family when he raced – Old Friends Farm has been in contact with Japanese interests attempting to repatriate Charismatic.
Lemon Drop Kid postscript: He scored another major victory later at age 3 when capturing the Travers, then returned at age 4 and won five times – including the Brooklyn, Suburban, Whitney, and Woodward – to be named champion older male. He was retired to stud following the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, having won 10 of 24 starts and more than $3.2 million, and has stood his entire career at his birthplace, Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, where he has been a solid, successful stallion. His offspring include 2006 Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, two-time Pacific Classic winner Richard’s Kid, and this year’s Fountain of Youth winner, Itsaknockout. His 2015 stud fee is $40,000.
1998 Real Quiet
Derby-Preakness winner: Real Quiet (b. c., Quiet American-Really Blue, by Believe It)
Owner: Mike Pegram
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Belmont winner: Victory Gallop (b. c., Cryptoclearance-Victorious Lil, by Vice Regent)
Owner: Prestonwood Farm Inc.
Trainer: Elliott Walden
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Triple Trouble: Real Quiet had a four-length lead with a furlong to go in the Belmont, but lost his focus and, despite desperate coaxing from jockey Kent Desormeaux, could not hold off the late charge of Victory Gallop and lost the Belmont by a nose. Desormeaux has been criticized for the ride, and most do believe he did move prematurely, but had Real Quiet held on, Desormeaux likely would have been lauded for knowing just how much horse he had under him and for aggressively taking charge of the situation. What can’t be debated is that Gary Stevens put up a tremendous ride on Victory Gallop, who split horses at two different junctures in the final quarter-mile. Had he gone around either pairing, he wouldn’t have made it. Stevens called his autobiography “The Perfect Ride” in honor of this race.
Real Quiet postscript: Though he missed the rest of the year after the Belmont, he was named champion 3-year-old male. He did not race again until the following March and raced five times at age 4, winning twice – in the Pimlico Special and Hollywood Gold Cup, both Grade 1 events. He was retired later that summer and entered stud in 2000 at Vinery in Kentucky. He stood at several other farms in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, his final stop Penn Ridge, where he died in a paddock accident in 2010. His most significant runner was Midnight Lute, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Victory Gallop postscript: Following the Belmont, he was second in both the Haskell and Travers, then a close fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He returned at age 4 and won three times in four starts, including the Stephen Foster and the Whitney, which earned him the Eclipse Award as champion older male of 1999. He was initially retired to stud at his owner’s Prestonwood Farm – which was renamed WinStar when Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner purchased the property – then in 2008 was sold to the Jockey Club of Turkey, where he continues to stand. His 2015 stud fee is 17,000 Turkish lira, or approximately $6,500. A Canadian-bred, he was inducted into Canada’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
1997 Silver Charm
Derby-Preakness winner: Silver Charm (gr. c., Silver Buck-Bonnie’s Poker, by Poker)
Owner: Bob and Beverly Lewis
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Belmont winner: Touch Gold (b. c., Deputy Minister-Passing Mood, Buckpasser)
Owner: Stonerside Stable and Frank Stronach
Trainer: David Hofmans
Jockey: Chris McCarron
Triple Trouble: Silver Charm had shown in both the Derby and Preakness that if you get into a dogfight with him, you’ll lose. Cognizant of that, jockey Chris McCarron launched a sneak attack in the Belmont on Touch Gold. He dropped back on the far turn and then angled far wide down the stretch in an attempt to avoid going shoulder to shoulder with Silver Charm. It worked. Touch Gold – who had a brutal trip in the Preakness and came out of the race with a cracked hoof that required exacting care from trainer David Hofmans and farrier Ian McKinlay – rallied down the center of the track, with McCarron using Free House as a shield between Touch Gold and Silver Charm. He won by three-quarters of a length.
Silver Charm postscript: He did not race again until the end of the year, when he finished second in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, but he was named champion 3-year-old male. He went on at ages 4 and 5 to win a number of major races, most notably the 1998 Dubai World Cup. He also won the Goodwood and Clark at age 4, but was denied Horse of the Year when he finished second to Awesome Again in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He won once in five starts at age 5 before being retired. He initially stood at stud at Three Chimneys in Kentucky, went to Japan in 2004, but was pensioned from stud duty and repatriated to the United States last fall. He resides at Old Friends Farm in Kentucky. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Touch Gold postscript: He won the Haskell later in the summer, but ran poorly in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He returned at age 4 and won once in four starts. He was retired to stud at co-owner Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky and later stood for three years (2011-13) at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in New York before returning to Adena Springs in 2014. His 2015 stud fee is $3,500. He was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 2011.
1989 Sunday Silence
Derby-Preakness winner: Sunday Silence (dk. b. or br. c., Halo-Wishing Well, by Understanding)
Owner: Arthur Hancock III, Ernest Gaillard, and Charlie Whittingham
Trainer: Charlie Whittingham
Jockey: Pat Valenzuela
Belmont winner: Easy Goer (ch. c., Alydar-Relaxing, by Buckpasser)
Owner: Ogden Phipps
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: Pat Day
Triple Trouble: This was one of the great rivalries of the latter half of the 20th century, with two outstanding colts battling in a compelling Triple Crown. Sunday Silence, based on the West Coast, was far more effective on the one-mile ovals at Churchill Downs and Pimlico than at Belmont Park, where the separation he could create on sharper turns was negated by Belmont’s sweeping turns. On his home track, going 1 1/2 miles, Easy Goer thrived. In a dominating performance, he rolled to an eight-length victory, giving Easy Goer’s legion of fans some solace after he lost as the favorite in both the Derby and Preakness.
Sunday Silence postscript: In their lone meeting after the Triple Crown, Sunday Silence defeated Easy Goer in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park, which gave Sunday Silence a 3-1 edge in their head-to-head meetings and, more significantly, clinched for him titles as both Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male. He raced twice at age 4, winning once, prior to being retired midway through the year while training for a race at Arlington Park. He was sold for stud duty to the Yoshida family and went to Japan, where he became that country’s most important stallion ever, leading the stallion ranks 13 years and becoming a significant sire of sires. He died in Japan in 2002. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Easy Goer postscript: The Belmont was the start of a five-race win streak for Easy Goer in New York’s most important races. He subsequently captured the Whitney, Travers, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup – the only horse to do so in the same year – but had to settle for second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He won twice in three starts at age 4 before he, too, was retired midway through the year while preparing for a race against Sunday Silence at Arlington Park; neither made it. He went to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, occupying the stall that had been home to Secretariat, but he died prematurely in 1994 and was buried at Claiborne. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Derby-Preakness winner: Alysheba (b. c., Alydar-Bel Sheba, by Lt. Stevens)
Owner: Dorothy and Pam Scharbauer
Trainer: Jack Van Berg
Jockey: Chris McCarron
Belmont winner: Bet Twice (b. c., Sportin’ Life-Golden Dust, by Dusty Canyon)
Owner: Cisley Stable
Trainer: Warren A. (Jimmy) Croll
Jockey: Craig Perret
Triple Trouble: Alysheba received a questionable ride from Chris McCarron, who has admitted that the Belmont wasn’t his finest hour, but even if Alysheba had not run into traffic trouble on the far turn, he likely would have finished second, not fourth, because Bet Twice ran the race of his life this day, motoring to a 14-length victory. Bet Twice had lost the Derby by three-quarters of a length and the Preakness by a half-length. One other contributing factor to this result could be that Alysheba had used Lasix in both the Derby and Preakness, but in 1987 Lasix was banned in New York, so Alysheba went without in the Belmont.
Alysheba postscript: He finished his 3-year-old year with a memorable Breeders’ Cup Classic duel against Ferdinand, the previous year’s Derby winner. “The two Derby winners hit the wire together,” racecaller Tom Durkin said as Ferdinand just lasted to win by a nose, securing Horse of the Year. Alysheba was named champion 3-year-old male. Alysheba came back at 4 and won seven times in nine starts, twice against Ferdinand in Grade 1 races at Santa Anita – including the Santa Anita Handicap – and closed the year with four straight wins in Grade 1 races, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, to be named both Horse of the Year and champion older male. He began stud duty at Lane’s End Farm in 1989, then was sent to Saudi Arabia in 1999. He returned to the United States in 2008 and, having been pensioned from stud duty, lived at the Kentucky Horse Park until his death in 2009. He is buried at the Horse Park. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Bet Twice postscript: In their first meeting after the Belmont, Bet Twice defeated Alysheba again in the Haskell, and at age 4 he beat Alysheba a third time in the Pimlico Special, but Bet Twice lost to Alysheba in the Iselin, the start of Alysheba’s four-race win streak to end the year. Bet Twice won 10 of 26 starts. He was retired to stud, but was pensioned by age 12 and died at age 15 in March 1999 at Muirfield East in Maryland.
1981 Pleasant Colony
Derby-Preakness winner: Pleasant Colony (dk. b. or br. c., His Majesty-Sun Colony, by Sunrise Flight)
Owner: Buckland Farm
Trainer: John P. Campo
Jockey: Jorge Velasquez
Belmont winner: Summing (b. c., Verbatim-Sumatra, by Groton)
Owner: Charles T. Wilson Jr.
Trainer: Luis Barrera
Jockey: George Martens
Triple Trouble: Pleasant Colony unleashed strong closing charges to run down the frontrunners in both the Derby and Preakness, but a slow pace doomed him in the Belmont as he could not adequately close into fractions of 1:14.20 for six furlongs and 1:39.40 for a mile, ultimately falling short by 1 3/4 lengths while finishing third to Summing and Highland Blade and 11 lengths clear of the rest of the field. He likely was a tired horse coming into the Belmont, too, for he did not race again until the Travers more than two months later. Summing was a fresh horse, having skipped the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He prepped for the Belmont with a victory in the Pennsylvania Derby, that year run on Memorial Day at Keystone, now known as Parx. Luis Barrera, his trainer, was the brother of Laz Barrera, the trainer of Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner.
Pleasant Colony postscript: He raced just three times after the Belmont, all at age 3. He missed by a head in the Travers, beat elders in the Woodward, then was retired after finishing fourth in the Marlboro Cup, having won six times in 14 starts. He was named champion 3-year-old male of 1981, then entered stud the following spring at the Buckland Farm of his owner and breeder, Thomas Mellon Evans. He was an important sire, his offspring including Breeders’ Cup winners Pleasant Stage and Pleasantly Perfect, and he had a profound impact as a broodmare sire. After being pensioned from stud duty, he died in Virginia, where he was born, in 2002.
Summing postscript: He raced through the end of his 3-year-old year, winning seven times in 23 starts, with his biggest post-Belmont victory coming in the Pegasus. He initially was retired to his birthplace, Jonabell Farm in Kentucky, where at stud his offspring included Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Epitome, an Eclipse Award winner. He moved to California in 1992, was pensioned in 2003, and died in 2008. His jockey, George Martens, retired and became an exercise rider for trainer Scotty Schulhofer and was the exercise rider of 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid.
1979 Spectacular Bid
Derby-Preakness winner: Spectacular Bid (gr. c., Bold Bidder-Spectacular, by Promised Land)
Owner: Hawksworth Farm
Trainer: Grover (Bud) Delp
Jockey: Ronnie Franklin
Belmont winner: Coastal (ch. c., Majestic Prince-Alluvial, Buckpasser)
Owner: William Haggin Perry
Trainer: David Whiteley
Jockey: Ruben Hernandez
Triple Trouble: Spectacular Bid looked as though he would become the third straight winner of the Triple Crown and fourth during the 1970s, following Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978), but he faded to third behind Coastal and Golden Act. His trainer, Bud Delp, said after the race that Spectacular Bid stepped on a safety pin that morning, and that has gone down in Triple Crown lore as the convenient excuse for his loss. But the rapid pace set by Spectacular Bid and jockey Ronnie Franklin going 1 1/2 miles - 23.40 seconds, 47.60, and 1:11.20 for the first six furlongs, especially that 23.60 third quarter - likely was a major factor in his inability to stay the distance.
Spectacular Bid postscript: Franklin was out as Spectacular Bid’s jockey following the Belmont. Bill Shoemaker took over for the final 13 starts of his career. At age 3, Spectacular Bid won 3 of 4 starts after the Belmont, including the Marlboro Cup, in which he exacted revenge on Coastal. His lone loss came in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, when he fell three-quarters of a length shy of Affirmed. At age 4, Spectacular Bid had one of the most celebrated single-season campaigns in American racing history, winning all nine of his starts, setting four track records, and closing out his career with a walkover in the Woodward when all his rivals scratched. He retired with 26 wins in 30 starts, was a champion all three years he raced, and was Horse of the Year in 1980. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982. Spectacular Bid initially went to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, then in 1991, moved to New York, where he remained at stud at Milfer Stud until he died in 2003. He is buried at Milfer.
Coastal postscript: Coastal won the lone Triple Crown race that in 1969 eluded his sire, Majestic Prince. Later in the summer of 1979, Coastal won both the Dwyer and the Haskell, but he finished behind Spectacular Bid in both the Marlboro Cup and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He retired with 8 wins in 14 starts, then stood at stud in the U.S. and South Africa. He died in 2005. He was a half-brother to two-time champion Slew o’ Gold, both being out of the dam Alluvial.
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All you people that conspire to the "horse racing is fixed" theory, why do you follow it? Why not keep your stupid thoughts to yourself and leave the Triple Crown and other big horse racing events to those that love the sport? Why don't you also just keep on reading National Enquirer, TMZ and other "accurate" news sources like them and live your life based on their information. YOU are the people that makes the world a worse place!!!!!!!!
PLETCHERS WIN % at BELMONT 49%....derby stats 1 for 43 Belmont stats 2 for 18 and 4 seconds.... IS RICK DUTHROW BACK ?..seriously 49% I don't care if you get the best horses and you are a genius . nobody wins half the races they enter without a little help .
The single biggest threat to AMERICAN PHAROAH is the NY jockey colony. They are capable of race ridding and herding this horse all the way around the track. Or even slamming ion to the rail..there's no sense of fair play there its all about setting up a score. If I was Victor I would get to the lead quickly and open up and let them chase. PLETCHERS horses always have an advantage in NY and Florida I wont get into why. most bettors understand why and ill leave it at that.so he will be tougher in this race than he will ever be in the derby. as an example he is 2 for 18 with 4 -2nds in the Belmont and 1 for 43 in the derby. must be the water there.
What was the problem with my last comment? Why didn't it show up? Watch, this comment of mine will show up, and the other one won't.
Real Quiet's loss was maybe the worst beat I've ever seen given the magnitude of the race....Though I'm still mad at that d#$@ Touch Gold
How come Funny Cides lifetime past performances do not show his last win? He won a small stakes at Finger Lakes in the slop. Finger Lakes was the closest track to Funny Cides owners home city of Sacketts Harbor.
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I'd love to see a different feature on the horses that lost the Derby but won the Preakness and Belmont.
If you flipped a coin that landed heads 9 times in a row what are the odds that it will land on heads the 10th time? Yes that's an old one but you would be supprised at how many couldn't give the correct answer (although my past bookie gave the best answer of 4/5 if he took the bet). The point is that people are judging this Belmont by the past Belmont's. This year is as different as every other year before. I saw three TC winners in four years but didn't say it was too easy to do. This year (as regards to the Belmont) is a new start. So when handicapping this years Belmont don't look at all the "flips" (or flops) in the years before and understand that this is one race and should be handicapped as such. To handicap it use the PP's from this year only and forget all the other Belmont's in the past and forget about any "jinx's" because they too are in the past. As far as the coin flip, since the first nine flips have nothing to do with the 10th flip the correct odds on the 10th flip are even money, and using the same logic the odds that there will be a TC winner this year are going to be way under the odds of the coin flip.