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Belmont Stakes

SPORTS
June 5, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Sports Columnist
WINNING A single Triple Crown race for a horse trainer is just like winning any golf major or any championship in any team sport. No matter what else happens in a career, only one trophy in horse racing's marquee series is a forever moment. Bob Baffert has won 11 Triple Crown races since 1997 - the Kentucky Derby four times, the Preakness six times, the Belmont Stakes once. To put in perspective how dominant Baffert's stable has been since Silver Charm won the '97 Derby, consider that he has won nearly 20 percent of all Triple Crown races since then (11 of 56)
SPORTS
June 5, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Sports Columnist
IF I LOOKED at these Belmont Stakes past performances in a vacuum, I would note that there is only one horse that has ever gone wire-to-wire in any race and that horse has done it four times. I would also note that none of the other horses has ever been in front at the first call of any race. The best horse with a tactical advantage is the closest thing to a sure thing as there is in horse racing. American Pharoah is obviously the best horse in tomorrow's Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah also has the best early speed.
SPORTS
June 4, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
SECRETARIAT, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, three of the greatest horses in the history of the sport, won the Triple Crown in 1973, 1977 and 1978. Since then 14 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness without winning the Belmont Stakes. There is no common theme other than the result. Every one of them lost, even when losing really did not seem possible. Here is a year-by-year look at the Almost Crowns. Spectacular Bid (1979) The 1979 2-year-old champion had won 12 consecutive stakes before the Belmont.
SPORTS
May 19, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
BALTIMORE - A hot, muggy spring day had begun to cool late Saturday afternoon as the area around Pimlico darkened and a breeze blew through the old racetrack grounds. It was 5:35 p.m. when Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah emerged from the stakes barn to get his prerace bath, a ritual that would quickly prove unnecessary. The 140th Preakness, which attracted a record 131,680, was about to get an unwanted visit from the skies, which went black as the eight horses were wandering about the grass course 15 minutes before the 6:18 post time.
SPORTS
May 18, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
BALTIMORE - The storm had been building much of the afternoon, rolling in from the west and gradually darkening the sky behind the grandstand at Pimlico Race Course. It arrived just before the start of the 140th Preakness Stakes, and the horses on the track had to shuffle around and wait a few minutes in the downpour before being loaded into the gate. There was lightning in the area and thunder rumbling overhead, which are not optimal conditions for millions of dollars of horseflesh to stand inside a steel starting gate.
SPORTS
May 18, 2015 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Staff Writer
BALTIMORE - Pimlico's infield, packed with raucous revelers all day, was eerily empty, evacuated in advance of a storm that struck minutes before the race. Lightning bolts snapped and flashed in the darkness engulfing this 143-year-old track. And the rain, a relentless torrent, fell hard and angrily. But as he powerfully separated himself from seven muddy and outclassed rivals in the 140th Preakness Stakes' swampy stretch late Saturday afternoon, American Pharoah never seemed to notice.
SPORTS
May 17, 2015 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Staff Writer
BALTIMORE - The Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes may be more glamorous, but it's the Preakness alone that can transform three distinct races into a Triple Crown. When Derby winners falter at Pimlico, the anticipation and curiosity that animate the three races disappears. Whatever happened at Churchill Downs two weeks earlier fades from memory. And June's climactic Belmont is instead anticlimactic. So, in addition to jockey Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah will carry that burden for the troubled sport late Saturday afternoon when he heads a bifurcated field of eight 3-year-olds in the 140th Preakness.
SPORTS
September 22, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
The crowd came out to Parx Racing to see a star on Saturday in the 35th running of the Pennsylvania Derby, and California Chrome looked perfect for the role of a Hollywood hero as he walked regally around the paddock, accepted Victor Espinoza onto his back, and stepped onto the track to play his part. And then they ran the race. Someone messed with the script, just as they had in June at the Belmont Stakes, when Chrome wasn't able to parlay wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes into Triple Crown immortality.
SPORTS
September 20, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Steve Coburn, a lifelong westerner, had never been to Philadelphia before this week, so he put his pearl-gray Stetson on his head and took his wife, Carolyn, to see the Liberty Bell on Wednesday. The line was pretty long and stretched down the block, so Coburn went around the side to see whether there might be another way in. Not really, but he came to a glass wall and right there was the Liberty Bell, and they both got a good, long look at it. "People were standing in line a long time to get their picture taken next to it, but I saw it. I even saw the crack," Coburn said.
SPORTS
September 19, 2014 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
IN THE END, it is still a horse race. It just happens to be the most important race in the history of Pennsylvania racing and the first time a Kentucky Derby winner has run in the state after winning the Derby. The stakes are high for tomorrow's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, with many questions. Is California Chrome the same horse that so dominated his peers all winter and spring? Is he better? If he wins and looks good doing it, how cool will the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita be, with Chrome against unbeaten Shared Belief, last year's 2-year-old champion, who is scheduled to run in the Sept.
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