Race writer Bill Finley did some fancy math and came up with this dismal number. So why doesn’t he think our Derby/Preakness winner stands a chance?
Finley follows up his gloomy prediction with an interesting presentation of possible reasons why every Triple Crown hopeful of the last 30 years has gotten tripped up by the series’ final leg, ranging from distance and footing to modern racehorse training, management and breeding.
The biggest culprit, he supposes: ” …I believe it has everything to do with how the modern horse is handled. Three races in five weeks was no big deal for the horses of the ’30s through the ’70s, but these horses just can’t handle it.”
He continues, “When Affirmed won the Belmont in 1978, it was his 17th career start and his eighth race of that year. From his 3-year-old debut in March through the Preakness, the most time off he had between races was 20 days. It’s easy to see why he had the foundation to hold up to the demands placed upon him as a 3-year-old. These horses were tough because their trainers made them tough.”
“By contrast, I’ll Have Another will be making his eighth career start in the Belmont and his fifth this year,” he explains. “He had 62 days between races when he went from the Robert Lewis to the Santa Anita Derby and another 28-day break between the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby.”
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