Notable Past Triple Crown Contenders Denied Victory in The Belmont Stakes

Notable Past Triple Crown Contenders Denied Victory in The Belmont Stakes

In the rich and textured history of the Triple Crown, most racing fans know full well that there have been a total of 11 champions that have won the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs over 1 ¼ miles, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico over 1 3/16ths miles, and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park over a mile and a half. However, what fans may not be aware of is that many more horses, a grand total of 19 throughout history, have won the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness and come to the Belmont Stakes with a chance to join those other 11 thoroughbred immortals and win the Triple Crown, but have failed. Why? What is it about winning the Triple Crown that makes it so difficult? It’s so difficult, in fact, that completing the Triple Crown sweep is widely acknowledged as the most difficult feat to accomplish in all of thoroughbred racing. Let’s examine the factors that contribute to the reasons that such an eye-popping number of horses have come up short in their efforts to win the Belmont Stakes and secure the Crown. First, one must remember that even though the American public gets to experience the Triple Crown series every year from the first Saturday in May to the Belmont exactly five weeks later, the horses that compete in the races get one shot in their entire lives, so it’s not as if a horse that tries and fails to win the Triple Crown can simple try again the next year or the year after that. They get one chance to win all three races in the same year, that magical five week period that horsemen refer to as a crucible, a gauntlet. If they fail, there is no second chance. Thoroughbreds that compete in the Triple Crown series must be three-year-olds. A two-year-old race horse is considered a juvenile, and a three-year-old a late adolescent. Only at four years old and up are they considered fully mature, and fully mature horses cannot compete for the Crown. As three-year-olds, a key factor to ponder is the distances of the three races. May is considered early in three-year-old’s campaign, and the 1 ¼, or 10 furlongs, that the Derby demands of it’s field is almost always the longest race that the horses have ever been asked to run, and so therefore trainers simply do not know whether their horse possesses the extra stamina needed to prevail in the Derby. Generally speaking, trainers like to enter their contenders in a 9 furlong, or 1 ⅛ mile race, in their final prep race before Kentucky Derby time, and a strong showing in such a race gives them hope of a good shot at the Run for the Roses. But remember, they simple have no frame of reference because their horses have never done it before.You Might Also LikeThis Video Shows How Clueless Kids Are About MoneyHere’s How Spoiled Barron Trump Actually Is and He’s Only 10Husband Divorced His Wife After Looking Closer At This PhotoRidiculously Dirty Photos Snapped At The Perfect MomentSponsored Content?These content links are provided by Both and the web site upon which the links are displayed may receive compensation when readers click on these links. Some of the content you are redirected to may be sponsored content. View our privacy policy here.To learn how you can use to drive visitors to your content or add this service to your site, please contact us at Content Only recommend family-friendly contentWebsite owners select the type of content that appears in our units. However, if you would like to ensure that always displays family-friendly content on this device, regardless of what site you are on, check the option below. Learn More Unique to the Derby is the size of the field. In recent vintage, the Derby is always the largest field that a horse has ever had to run in. In the last 20 years, there have always been a field of at least 15, and sometimes as many as 20 horses to compete against. This means that many talented horses get squeezed out of position, forced wide, or caught inside with nowhere to go and become Derby afterthoughts. But 19 horses have won the first two legs, the Derby and the Preakness. Why so many? For one, the Preakness Stakes is run a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby, and is therefore more of a speed race that the stamina contest that Derby is. More importantly, many trainers nowadays choose not to run their Derby horses in the Preakness if they fail to win because they figure since they cannot win the Triple Crown, then why run their horses in a race nearly the same distance as the Derby with only two weeks in between? What this means to the winner of the Derby is that the field for the the Preakness is ALWAYS smaller than the Derby. Of course, the field also features many horses that haven’t run in the Derby or any other race for five weeks time, as well, so the Derby winner must contend with some well rested opponents. But 19 Derby winners have gone on to win the Derby and the Preakness but come up short in the Triple Crown, so what is it about the Belmont Stakes that makes it such a graveyard of champions? Two words: Twelve Furlongs. That’s the key to understanding why it’s so tough to win the Triple Crown, why 19 horses have to come to the Belmont Stakes with a chance to become immortal and failed. Not only are they being asked to run in a third race in a third state on a third track over a third distance in five weeks against top competition, but that third race is run at the staggering distance of a mile and half, which is a full quarter of a mile, or two furlongs, farther than any three-year-old has ever been asked to run in his life. Some, actually most, horses simply cannot compete against rested competition over that distance. Indeed, some horses simply cannot compete at that distance, period. They are simple beyond their limit. The most recent time that a horse won the first two legs was 2008 and Big Brown. He dominated the field in the Derby and the Preakness, but sustained a quarter crack in a hoof and was crushed, never even in contention, during the Belmont Stakes. Injury, lack of stamina, and sometimes even bad luck can all conspire to ruin a chance at immortality. Will 2012 be the year the long drought (1978 and Affirmed was the last Triple Crown Winner) will finally end? Stay tuned and find out!







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