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This Saturday Justify will attempt to achieve horse racing immortality and become the 13th Triple Crown winner in racing history. In 2015 another Bob Baffert trained colt, American Pharoah, ended a 37 year Triple Crown drought as he went wire to wire to become the 12th Triple Crown winner. Let’s take a look back at the past Triple Crown Winners, and also some of the near misses.
There have been only 12 Triple Crown winners, and just one since 1978. Justify can become the 13th horse to join this list, and trainer Bob Baffert can become only the second trainer ever to win the Triple Crown with two different horses. Will Justify join this prestigious list?
The Belmont Stakes has claimed many victims during its 150 year history. Perhaps one of the most rememberable Triple Crown losses of all time was Smarty Jones in 2004. It was almost a forgone conclusion that the fan favorite was going to win the race, but was defeated by Birdstone, who passed Smarty Jones just a few yards from the wire. Big Brown was another recent flop who was thought to be a lock coming into the race, but was eased on the final turned. Justify will hope to avoid this list which includes so many great horses who just fell short.
Sometimes it’s the other two legs of the Triple Crown that trips horses up. The most recent example is Afleet Alex who came to Belmont and dominated in 2005, and won the Preakness despite nearly falling down at the top of the stretch after clipping heels. However, his Kentucky Derby day was disappointing as he finished third to long shot Giacomo. Point Given also comes to mind as a horse who just couldn’t get its done beneath the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs, but went on to be the best horse in the crop with wins in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Here are the list of horses who just missed out on the Triple Crown because of Kentucky Derby or Preakness losses.
Justify will look to make history this Saturday at Belmont Park. Will he be become the 13th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history, or will he find himself on the “near misses” list after the race is over? Tune in Saturday to find out, and remember to check out the Racing Dudes for wall to wall coverage throughout the week, as well as the day of the race, and all the fallout after the race!
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