Can History Repeat?

It was 45 years ago when five horses lined up at Belmont Park. Only one stood to be the Triple Crown winner and take down the “Test of the Champion.” – It was 2:24 later and a colt who went by the name of “Big Red” not only set a track record, he broke the world record by nearly two seconds. That sunny day in 1973 seems a lifetime ago. Or, could it be another page in history on the exact date 45 years later the 13th Triple Crown winner could be crowned. – I guess we’ll have to wait and watch.

Ron Turcotte said, “the horses behind him looked like little dots getting smaller.” – He never pushed him in the stretch and drew off almost a 1/16th of a mile on the rest of the field. The final margin of victory was 31 lengths. – Chic Anderson couldn’t have said it any better than “he was moving like a tremendous¬†machine.” – As we look back on the old CBS video and the eternal words of “The World’s Greatest Racing Announcer” according to Sports Illustrated; it was a moment that was captured in time forever. – Take a look back and relish the moment one more time before Saturday.

Fast forward 45 years, and we have another shot at the next. – There’s something magical about a Triple Crown winner. No matter where they finish in any another race, they are etched into history. – This Saturday will be 6/9/18. It will be 45 years to the day when the 13th Triple Crown winner could enter the pantheon of racing.

Mike Smith first came into my view when Turfway Park invented itself from the ashes of Latonia Racecourse. He was in town to ride the fall meet and find his next career step. – After watching him ply his trade over the Florence, Kentucky oval it was a glimpse of only what was to come for this young man. – He’s 52 and has the build of a rider 20-years his junior.¬†A win in Saturday’s $1.5 million Grade I Belmont Stakes with the imposing Justify would bring with it a Triple Crown title; only the 13th time it would happen since the first one in 1919.

“I always told myself that one day I was gonna win a Triple Crown,” Smith said by cellphone from California, where he has been riding regularly since 2000. “Now, here I’m in with a chance with a serious contender. If the good Lord is willing, and it’s meant to be, it will happen,” according to the Times Union. – “I’ve waited for this a long time,” Smith said. “I am excited for it. I’m happy. I’m humble. The hard part is the waiting. I’ve got a horse that I would not trade for nobody.” If Smith and Justify do win, the rider will be the oldest to ever sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Smith is 52, will turn 53 in August. The oldest Triple Crown-winning jockey is the most recent; Victor Espinoza was 43 when he rode American Pharoah into the history books.

Justify is a perfect 5/5 and didn’t have a race as two-year-old. He broke the “Curse of Apollo” being the first to do so since 1882. – His first race wasn’t until February 18, 2018. Ever since then his strides have taken us on a journey that legends are made. His trainer is the one and only Bob Baffert and his rider is known as the “Money Man.” – When they team up good things happen. The million dollar question is can it happen this Saturday 45 years later to the day from Secretariat? – Waiting is the hardest part. – Just to whet your appetite for things to come, here’s a glimpse of his Kentucky Derby victory. – Will history be made? We’ll just have to wait a few more days.

 

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