American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown

Wow! What a horse!

American Pharoah was leading the entire race, but many fans had to be holding their breath as this marvelous colt made the final turn into the home stretch. Could he hang on, or would we witness another Triple Crown disappointment at the Belmont Stakes?

But as trainer Bob Baffert later explained, jockey Victor Espinoza hadn’t even unleashed American Pharoah yet while the other jockeys were frantically pushing their horses to try and overtake the favorite. Once unleashed, American Pharoah ran away from the field and revealed why the Triple Crown is reserved for truly special horses.

The Triple Crown is supposed to be hard, and that makes American Pharoah’s performance and accomplishment even more gratifying.

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Epic rant from owner of California Chrome

Like many, I got to see this epic rant live, and it’s amazing what people say when they’re pissed off. Never mind that this has been going on for years, as some horses show up in the Belmont Stakes to thwart a Triple Crown. That’s why it’s so damn hard.

The debates on Twitter were priceless and also informative, as those who understood horse racing explained why Steve Coburn’s rant about some taking “the coward’s way out” was just silly given the nature of the sport.

The great horses are able to overcome the task of winning three straight. Heck, some great horses don’t even achieve it given the competition in the year they run.

Still, the reaction was priceless and will be replayed for years to come.

Belmont delivers a thriller

Well, I guess I was wrong. While we didn’t get any Triple Crown drama today, the actual race at the Belmont Stakes was a thriller, as Union Rags came from behind to beat Paynter by a nose.

Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes in 1973

The greatest horse in history was a “tremendous machine” 29 years ago at the Belmont Stakes. Secretariat won that race by a staggering 31 lengths to win the Triple Crown.

Unfortunately, we won’t get much drama today, as I’ll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont yesterday, depriving the horse from a chance at the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. There’s plenty of questions surrounding the decision, but all we know is that we won’t get a race for the ages today.

Summer Bird, Kent Desormeaux win 2009 Belmont Stakes

In an impressive upset, 11/1 long shot Summer Bird seemingly came out of nowhere to win the 2009 Belmont Stakes today at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

Favorite Mine That Bird started off in the back of the pack and even was in last for a short portion of the race. But he made a steady push to the front by finding an opening along the rail and then down the stretch it looked like he was going to win.

But jockey Calvin Borel, who was going for his own version of the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, “opened up” Mine That Bird too soon. Mine That Bird couldn’t finish the final push and wound up in third behind Dunkirk.

Had Borel waited a touch longer to turn Mine That Bird loose, maybe he would have been victorious. But obviously it’s a judgment call for the jockey and it’s hard to criticize Borel after all the success he’s had this season, although some of the commentators were opening questioning his tactics after the race.

For much of the race, Summer Bird wasn’t in the top four as he waded in the middle of the pack. But down the final stretch, he found some open ground and blazed past Mine That Bird, Dunkirk and Charitable Man to claim victory.

It was a sweet win for jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rode Real Quiet to victory in both the 1998 Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. But he lost his bid to win horse racing’s Triple Crown when Victory Gallop beat Real Quiet by a nose in the final stride of the Belmont. Desormeaux also rode Big Brown to victory at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year, but once again lost at the Belmont.

After being criticized for “opening up” Real Quiet too soon at the Belmont in 1998, the win today was sweet justice for Desormeaux. Now Borel will be the one questioned for being too anxious with Mine That Bird.

Congrats to Summer Bird; I’m sure he screwed over bettors over everywhere.

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