Can we finally get a Triple Crown winner?

The Triple Crown was part of my childhood. I was a little too young to appreciate Secretariat in the early 70s, but Seattle Slew and Affirmed were both incredible horses and I remember those vividly. Seattle Slew was dominant in 1977, even if it wasn’t celebrated quite as much as the legendary Secretariat. Affirmed was special due to the classic rivalry with Alydar in one of the most excited Triple Crown runs in history. Their epic battle ended in a race at the Belmont Stakes for the ages with Affirmed literally winning by a nose to grab the Triple Crown.

But Affirmed was the last winner. It was so exciting in the 1970s with these great horses, but nobody good have predicted the Triple Crown drought that would follow. There were many close calls, and I was at the Belmont Stakes in 1989 when Sunday Silence was trying for the Triple Crown but was denied by Easy Goer. I had bet Sunday Silence hoping to witness history, but I was in the infield near the finish line as Pat Day rode to an impressive win for Easy Goer, which was probably the better horse.

But May is around the corner, and the sports world will be watching sports like basketball and hockey, but that won’t be all.

As we get set for the NBA and NHL playoffs next week all eyes have diverted away from horse racing but lest we forget the most exciting 2 minutes in sports that are the Kentucky Derby. The 2014 Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May and you can get the latest qualifying scores report and line moves at the official Kentucky Derby betting site to help you with your Kentucky Derby online wagering picks and predictions.

Horse racing could really use a Triple Crown winner, as the health of the sport has really suffered over the years. Pimlico Race Course in Maryland, home of the Preakness Stakes, had to be bailed out by the state in order to continue operations. Many race tracks these days can’t survive without slots to draw more visitors.

But the big races are still a huge party, and if you’re looking for a great time you can start with the classic Kentucky Derby.

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Can Orb win the Triple Crown?

Every year after the Kentucky Derby, the question becomes whether the winner can carry it forward and win the Triple Crown. I’m old enough to remember when Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978, and frankly I’d really like to see it again.

Often we see horses win the Derby where it’s obvious the horse has no chance to get two more races. But this year, even on a sloppy track, Or b looked like a horse that has the goods to compete for glory. Next up is the Preakness, and the odds look pretty good for Orb:

The 138th Preakness, however, does not appear to offer a profitable opportunity to wager against the Derby winner. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers at Churchill Downs will not be at Pimlico because they are awaiting the Belmont Stakes or other objectives. Just eight horses will challenge Orb, and it is difficult to make a solid case for any of them.

Fortunately, in today’s world you can bet the horses from anywhere you like from your home and enjoy things like Royal Ascot Betting, so getting your racing fix is very easy. But there’s still something special about the Triple Crown, and getting in on the action in a year where a horse finally prevails should provide a hell of a story.

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.

I’ll Have Another now one victory shy of the Triple Crown

It’s only been four years since a thoroughbred came within a victory at the Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown.

And it’s been 34 years since a thoroughbred actually accomplished the historic feat.

After winning the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago and the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, I’ll Have Another is one victory shy of capturing horse racing’s Triple Crown. If he can will the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9, he will have done something that no other horse has accomplished since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978.

What’s impressive about I’ll Have Another is that he has seemingly come out of nowhere despite having a massive amount of success in his last four outings. Despite winning the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 4 and the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7, I’ll Have Another wasn’t among the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby. And even though he beat out Bodemeister at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, he wasn’t favored to win the Preakness either.

But maybe after jockey Mario Gutierrez once again made all of the right decisions down the stretch at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, I’ll Have Another will finally get the respect he deserves. For the second time in two weeks, Bodemeister held a lead while heading down the stretch, only to be edged out by I’ll Have Another each time. On Saturday, I’ll Have Another’s victory officially came by a neck after Bodemeister looked like he was going to win easily.

Horse racing doesn’t match the popularity of the four major U.S. sports, or even the UFC for that matter. But if you’re a general sports fan, tune in to the 2012 Belmont Stakes in a few weeks because you could witness history.

2012 Preakness Stakes Winners: 1. I’ll Have Another; 2. Bodemeister; 3. Creative Cause; 4. Zetterholm; 5. Teeth of the Dog; 6. Optimizer; 7. Cozzetti; 8. Tiger Walk; 9. Daddy Nose Best; 10. Went The Day Well; 11. Pretension.

2012 Preakness Stakes Payouts:

I’ll Have Another $8.40 $3.20 $2.80
Bodemeister $3.20 $2.80
Creative Cause $3.60

2.00 EXACTA 9-7 $18.60
1.00 TRIFECTA 9-7-6 $35.40
1.00 SUPERFECTA 9-7-6-4 $424.30

2010 Belmont Stakes Predictions

I’m feeling pretty good after nailing Lookin at Lucky to win the Preakness and predicting that First Dude would finish in the money. So let’s see if I can’t flub up my picks for the Belmont Stakes, which starts tonight at 6:30PM ET.

Win: Fly Down (5/1)
The more and more I look at this horse and his odds, the more I love him to win tonight. He’s already beaten First Dude (who I loved as a sleeper in the Preakness) twice in his career and is coming off a victory at Belmont Park on May 8 (the G2 Dwyer). He also has three wins in his last four races, although it’s worth noting that he finished ninth the only time he didn’t win in those four outings. Still, all of Fly Down’s races have come on dirt and he obviously knows Belmont well. He’s my pick to click tonight.

Place: First Dude (4/1)
I have a soft spot for First Dude, who I picked to come in third at the Preakness even though he was a 22/1 long-shot. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I think there’s something special about this horse and if he isn’t worn out from his excellent outing at the Preakness, then I think he’ll finish in the money. Will he beat out a well-rested Ice Box (second at the Kentucky Derby)? It’s tough to say, but I think First Dude will be out in front at some point and if he has enough left in the tank, he should make the board.

Show: Drosselmeyer (12/1)
This is my dark horse (pun definitely intended, which is why I wrote it) for tonight. He’s improved in each of his last three outings dating back to the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course on February 20, and is coming off a sharp prep at the Dwyer (where he finished second to Fly Down). I think his running style suits the Belmont and as long as there isn’t a quick pace set early, I think he’ll hang at the end.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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