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Sports Then and Now



Okay, We Care About Horse Racing Again (At Least for the Next Three Weeks) 17

Posted on May 17, 2014 by Dean Hybl
California Chrome will look to break the 36 year drought of Triple Crown champions.

California Chrome will look to break the 36 year drought of Triple Crown champions.

It is very likely that you had no idea that the Preakness Stakes was held this afternoon near Baltimore. However, now that California Chrome has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown you can guarantee that you will hear plenty about the Belmont Stakes, which will be held on June 7th.

While all but the most die-hard of sports fans generally don’t pay much attention to the three triple crown horse races contested over a five year period from early May through early June each year, there is still a little magic left in the idea of the Triple Crown.

Always recognized as an amazing accomplishment, it has been 36 years since a horse has been able to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in the same year. Since Affirmed became the 11th horse to accomplish the feat in 1978 (ironically the third horse to do it in five years following Secretariat and Seattle Slew), 12 horses have won the first two races, but failed to capture the most physically demanding and longest of the three races.

The first few times that a horse fell short – Spectacular Bid in 1979, Pleasant Colony in 1981, Alysheba in 1987 and Sunday Silence in 1989 – the failure wasn’t necessarily a huge deal as it had only been a few years since the last Triple Crown and each had come pretty close to joining the elite club. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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