Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Non-Heps-Track Triple Crown

The Princeton men's track and field team was not the only Triple Crown winner this year.

TigerBlog will get back to that in a few seconds.

While TB was talking yesterday about Princeton's performance at the NCAA track and field championships, he should have mentioned the charge the USC woman made at the end of the last race.

Did you see this? Here it is (you can fast forward to about the 3:20 mark):

Basically, USC needed to win the relay, or else Georgia would have won the NCAA title. And, well, you've probably seen what happened.

The woman who ran the final leg for USC is named Kendall Ellis. She was one of the two biggest racing winners of the weekend.

The other was Justify. He's a horse, a good-looking horse at that.

As you know, he became the 13th Triple Crown winner (that's only five more than Fred Samara has won by himself at Princeton, including one this year) when he went wire-to-wire to win the Belmont Stakes Saturday. He may or may not have gotten help from Restoring Hope, another horse from Justify's trainer who may or may not have acted as something of a pulling guard.

TigerBlog knows next to nothing about horse racing, but to him it looked legit. Justify ran out of the gate quickly and nobody was going to catch him.

By the way, how many of the other 12 Triple Crown winners can you name? How many can TigerBlog name?

There's Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and American Pharoah. Those were the four just before Justify, and they did it in 1973, 1977, 1978 and 2015. There were no Triple Crown winners for 37 years after it was done three times in six years, and now there have been two in four years.

Before Secretariat? There was Citation in 1948, or a 25-year gap.

The other seven? TB can come up with: War Admiral. Count Fleet. Whirlaway. That's nine. He has no idea what years they were.

So he's missing four. And he'd never get them in a million years. Okay, okay - he'll look them up. Turns out they're: Assault, Sir Barton, Gallant Fox and Omaha.

By the way, what would be a great name for a horse? You know, if you had to name a horse, what would you come up with?

TigerBlog thinks "Thank You" would be a great name. He'd be fast, and he'd be polite. It'd be "Thank You by a mile."

TigerBlog Jr. and his Sacred Heart buddies were at the Belmont Saturday. He took a video of the finish - and he was only a few lengths away from Justify as he finished.

Somehow they ended up in the front row, even with the finish line. That was impressive.

When TB asked him about it, TBJ said that they just walked there and nobody stopped them. Simple.

TigerBlog's standards for Triple Crown winners were established by watching Secretariat destroy the field in 1973 and then watching Affirmed hold off Alydar three times in 1978. If you've never seen how these two horses won the Triple Crown, you can watch the Belmont Stakes races for:

Secretariat (TigerBlog didn't remember that the race stayed as close as it did for as long as it did, but he did remember there were only five horses)
Affirmed (remembered how close it was, didn't remember that only five horses were in this record too)

Those are two extraordinary races, no? Is Justify on that level? Probably not, but, on the other hand, TBJ did get to see a Triple Crown winner from just a few feet away.

TigerBlog didn't realize that Justify had a Princeton connection until he got an email about it yesterday. Bo Nixon, Class of 1950, and his son Ted, Class of 1974, are part owners of Justify, with their Starlight Racing Partnership.

Is that the first time Princeton alums have owned a Triple Crown winner?

Oh, and the email also mentioned that their stable has a two-year-old that they're high on for next year. His name?

Golden Tiger.

That's a horse who will be easy to root for, right?

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