It has been more than three decades since we have had a Triple Crown winner, Affirmed pulling off the feat in 1978.
I was a senior in high school and more worried about getting out of going to the prom with a girl I really did not like, and more focused on the Washington Bullets championship run than horse racing at the time.
Now we move forward 34 years and since that time we have had eleven horses go to the Belmont Stakes (G1) with a shot of glory, and they all came up short, including talented runners such as Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, and Real Quiet.
This year we have the Doug O’Neill trained I’ll Have Another, who comes into Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) with pretty good credentials.
The colt is perfect in three starts this year, winning the Robert B. Lewis (G1) and Santa Anita Derby (G1), followed by the upset win in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
As I do every year I looked up the Racing Gods, this year after downing a few Stella Artois (the official beer of the Kentucky Derby and Turf ‘n’ Sport) and asked the very simple question.
Can I’ll Have Another win the Triple Crown?
The Racing Gods responded with a resounding, “Of course not stupid!”
They would not elaborate, but it is pretty easy to figure out why I’ll Have Another has no shot of winning the Triple Crown.
Now remember, I did not say he could not win the Preakness coming up on Saturday, just that he has no short whatsoever of winning both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
From a handicapping standpoint, the colt got a picture perfect ride and trip from the relatively unknown Mario Gutierrez, who has looked more like Jerry Bailey than some unknown kid coming out of Hastings Park in his last three trips aboard the colt.
He has shown he has ice flowing through his veins, but will that continue if he wins the Preakness and heads to Belmont Park for a shot of history?
I’m guessing the Racing Gods might call that the Ron Franklin/Stewart Elliot Syndrome.
I’ll Have Another also is suffering from what the Racing Gods call Beyeritis. The colt earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure, which is the lowest number since Giacomo earned a 100 in his Derby win.
The only person on the planet that seriously thought Giacomo had a shot of winning the Triple Crown was TVG’s Ken Rudulph, and that guy is now doing the morning show on a local affiliate in Sacramento.
Giacomo lost the Preakness and Belmont Stakes by a combined 27 ½ lengths.
Fast forward to 2008, the last time a colt headed to Belmont Park for a shot at the Triple Crown.
The name of the horse was Big Brown, and he carved up his competition winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in impressive fashion.
The colt was sent off as the chalk at 2-5 betting odds in a field of nine in the Belmont. The Triple Crown drought would finally be over, right?
I could hear one of the Racing Gods say to the other, “Hey Murray (that sounds like a Racing God name doesn’t it?), this kid Rick Dutrow has dozens of infractions on his record, keeps mentioning steroids, and I see a ten year suspension in his future, it ain’t happenin’”
So Big Brown was rank early and just so there was no confusion, the colt did not even finish the race, while the forgettable Da’Tara won the Belmont that year.
No Triple Crown winner, and apparently the Racing Gods hate chalk as much as I do.
That brings up back to 2012 and trainer Doug O’Neill, who himself has had a series of drug infractions on his record.
The California Horse Racing Board is looking into his fourth horse that tested for elevated levels of total carbon dioxide, or what is commonly known on the backstretch as “milkshaking.”
O’Neill now has three positives for so called “milkshaking” in California and one in Illinois.
The decision of the CHRB could lead to more fines and a suspension of up to six months.
O’Neill told the Bloodhorse, “”It’s very frustrating. But I’ve put in about $250,000 in lawyer’s fees and will let them worry about all that stuff. It won’t affect us at all here. It’s all so ridiculous.”
O’Neill was also in the hot seat back in the summer of 2010 when he dropped a mare named Burna Dette from a $16,000 claimer at Del Mar on July 21 into a $2,000 claiming race at Los Alamitos on Aug. 6 and the mare broke down.
The Racing Gods frown upon such things, and have told me in no uncertain terms that there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.
By the way, they also told me I was a greedy horseplayer, and after picking Super Saver ($18.00) and Animal Kingdom ($43.80) the past two years, there was no way they could bear watching me have the winner of the Derby three years in a row, hence the terrible trip by my top pick Union Rags.
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