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Kentucky Derby

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June 7, 2015 | Dick Jerardi, Daily News Sports Columnist
WHAT WOULD the reaction be if there is finally a Triple Crown winner? I get that question every June after a horse wins the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The answer is unknowable, because it has been so long and so much has changed since Affirmed last won it in 1978. Think about it? ESPN did not exist then. No cellphones. The Internet was barely a thought, and certainly not a word. The anticipation has been building for 37 years - Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, California Chrome - all wonderful horses, all Derby and Preakness winners, all unable to win the Belmont Stakes.
SPORTS
June 6, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
I stood in front of the winner's circle at Belmont Park, ready to scribble some history into my notebook. A record crowd showed up, 120,139, all there for the same reason, that June day in 2004, to see if a horse from Philadelphia Park could capture the last leg of the Triple Crown. The whole sport was rooting for Smarty Jones. I stood next to a young Belmont Park jockey, dressed in a dapper gray suit. As he talked to his girlfriend on his cellphone, I scribbled down what he said: "They haven't thrown me out yet. Oh, honey, I wish you were here.
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 26, 2015 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
This Memorial Day story from 30 years ago was so surreal that it still seems too fantastic to be true. You can also find a lot of people who will tell you the financing involved makes it a sad story rather than a happy one. Regardless, it was an amazing sequence of events that culminated with a horse's run for the money after winning the Run for the Roses. A horseman and Wall Street investor from Newark, N.J. had this vision of a glamorous racetrack in the middle of South Jersey where all the great thoroughbreds would come to run. It would be built on the same ground in Cherry Hill that had housed Garden State Park from 1942 until April 14, 1977, the date a massive fire killed three people and turned the grandstand into ashes.
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 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 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
May 17, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
When Divining Rod is led from the Stakes Barn at Pimlico Race Course late Saturday afternoon and takes the traditional walkover to be saddled for the Preakness Stakes, it will be the first time the blue, green and white silks of Lael Stables, owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, will see the track for a Triple Crown race since 2006, when the same walk was taken by ill-fated Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro. The Jacksons have had some very good horses since then, including multiple stakes winners several times, but none that had the right timing, the right form and the right luck to be entered in one of the three most prestigious races in the United States.
SPORTS
May 15, 2015
THREE YEARS after Ahmed Zayat sold his Egyptian beverage company for $280 million in 2002, he did what any naturalized American citizen from Cairo would do with that kind of cash - he went to horse sales around the country to see how fast he could spend it. The man who got a master's in public health from Boston University and lives in Teaneck, N.J., charged headfirst into horse racing with blinkers on and a strategy that bordered on manic....
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