Is This The Year?

In horse racing, one phrase will be used more times than any. “Is this the year? Is this the year for the next Triple Crown winner?” – Thoroughbred racing needs a Triple Crown winner now and again. It draws attention to the beauty and pageantry and breathes life anew.  If we had one every year, would it be appreciated and admired? When a long time goes by without the thought of a champion, will fans lose interest? These are questions only the Racing Gods could answer. If you asked every writer, handicapper, and true fan of the sport. The answer would be filled with hope and anticipation. Racing has been on the sidelines waiting since 1978. Will this be the year where #12 will be added to the pantheon of Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. Will Bob Baffert join James Fitzsimmons, Ben Jones, Laz Barrera, and Lucien Laurin to name a few? In think the answer is starting to gain steam, and all will be revealed about 6:45 on June 6th.


I’m a believer in the rule of three. If one person tells me something good or bad may happen, I just listen. When the second person unrelated to the first approaches with the same exact story, I start to pay heed. When the third person approaches with the same exact message. I begin to prepare or react to the situation. Now, this is not to be dramatic or one for the stage, but I have heard around 500 positive stories, read countless articles, and heard about impressive workouts that shown his brilliance. I was reading Horse Racing Nation, and watched the Preakness Stakes for the 100th time, and listened closely to Victor Espinoza, and Bob Baffert as they watched their runner splish-splash home at Baltimore. Watch and listen at the 4:10 mark to Victor Espinoza as he is interviewed by Donna Barton-Brothers. Pay close attention to the 5:50 mark as Kenny Rice interviews Bob Baffert. This doesn’t have the cocky-sure fire attitude we used to hear years ago. He has a humble sound with his 6th victory in the Preakness. If this doesn’t give you the feeling good things are in sight and they are in awe of the moment, you better check your pulse.


If you are a fan of workouts or breezes leading up to the Belmont Stakes, take a look at the way AP carries himself over the sloppy going on the deep Churchill Downs track. Common sense would tell you this colt is getting a little tuckered out. Be sure to watch the way he coms back from Baltimore following his Preakness victory ( be sure to start at the 1:35 point and see for yourself).

Coming back from Baltimore –


Training over the Churchill track caught by Jill Byrne –



If you’re still not convinced, take a peek at this incredible shot by Reed Palmer. I first saw it on John Asher’s FB page, and the vice president of racing communications of the world’s most renowned track has seen many good ones pass under the Twin Spires. Just take a look at his stride.


So, is this the year? Nobody knows for sure as they are many moving pieces to the racing puzzle. The gate draw, the contenders, how the race shapes up, will he get a clean trip, and does he have enough gas in the tank? I guess we’ll just have to wait like the owners, trainers, riders, and throngs of fans who will show up rain or shine to be part of racing history. This may be a race you won’t want to miss as watching the replay a few days later may not produce the chill bumps that will certainly be running down your arm. If your still not convinced, here are a couple of race replays that may have you jumping on the bandwagon. Best of luck, AP! We’ve been waiting for you since 1978.


Rebel Stakes –


Arkansas Derby –


Kentucky Derby –