Triple Crown Dreams

If the Kentucky Derby is where every horseman’s dreams are made, then the Belmont Stakes is where it is often dashed. A grueling schedule, fresh horses, and freak accidents are just some of the challenges horse and rider so often face.

Nonetheless, as the first two jewels in the crown are won, onlookers cheer, and dare to join in the speculation, “Will this be the year we’ve finally achieved another Triple Crown?”

Last year an unlikely hero rode his way into America’s heart as he handily won the first two jewels in the Crown. You may have heard of him, a fine-looking chestnut colt by the name of California Chrome.

But even CC fell short in his bid for the last, bloodied leg of the Crown. It doesn’t help one’s odds when a beast of a horse steps on you from the start, taking a chunk out of your hoof.

Belmont just doesn’t want to give up that last, coveted jewel. I can almost hear it laughing haughtily, daring its contenders to defy the odds. Or maybe it’s Franky and his catchy song that keeps coming to mind, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere . . . New York, New York.”

Shamelessly and unapologetically (as Steve Coburn learned), the dark cloud still looms over the Belmont Stakes, threatening to rain on the next contender’s parade.

Speaking of which, this year we have American Pharoah.

This son of Pioneer of the Nile has already proven he can run on water, so well you’d think he sprouted fins. Even so, history demands that we take a sobering look from our dreamy cloud before we come crashing down. It takes more than talent to take on the final, mile and a half run.

And so the question still looms, “Will American Pharoah be the first runner, or swimmer, to reach the finish line and snatch up that final jewel?”

Maybe the combination of having that silvered-haired guy as trainer ( What’s his name?), a horse’s pedigree and talent, the luckiest Mexican alive in the saddle (I have yet to decide if Vic is that humble, or clueless) and nature playing a hand in their favor, the longest Triple Crown drought will finally come to an end.

Until then, the dream still lives on . . .

Article submitted by Joanne Prieto