So, the possibility exists for a Calvin Borel riding triple crown.  Ha – no, there isn’t such a thing really.  Calvin rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby.  Then he switched to Rachel Alexandra for the winning ride in the Preakness Stakes.  Rachel is skipping the Belmont, which left Calvin available for the Belmont, a ride he picks up gladly. In fact, in his usual style, he has already been proclaiming victory for the Bird.  In racing, we are a superstitious lot.  We do not ever predict a win, it just isn’t done.  Calvin broke tradition for the Preakness, and of course we know the filly won.  Not handily, but she did pull it off.  Her connections thought better of running at Belmont, and for that I am glad.  I think that Mine That Bird will show that we really did have Triple Crown material there when he showed up.  So, until next years hopes, dreams and possibilities, the Triple Crown dream is a memory.  It is funny, when Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner, my favorite horse – is referred to, it is usually linked to the irritating phrase “Affirmed and Alydar’s great rivalry”.  Bothers me to no end, because, guess what ?  Affirmed won the Triple Crown, there is no crown for second place.  It is sad for Alydar, who was ill fated in his own right, that he was foaled the same year as Affirmed.  I don’t recall how many times they met, and yes Alydar did win once that I recall, but I have never seen such a big deal with second place.  I worked for Affirmed’s wonderful trainer, the late Laz Barrera for a time and he didn’t get it either.  We had the best horse, and that was that.

Affirmed winning the Kentucky Derby with Steve Cauthen up.  He ran like this his whole career.  Note the ears tipped back – one to the rider, the other on approaching hoofbeats.  He never ran any faster than he needed to win.  He was a great horse, one who had never gotten the respect accorded to the reigning Triple Crown winner.  So long ago, 1978.  Where do the years go ?  That was a wonderful time in my life and occasionally you see a horse that good, or better.  Barbaro was better, but we will never know just how much.  Racing goes on, because you can run the same horses the same distance every two weeks for three months, and each outcome will be different.  The horses don’t care, they run for fun !

To the horses and riders tomorrow, good luck and come home safe.

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