THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS: THE BELMONT STAKES w/BONUS FOOTAGE
Belmont Park is the only track in the U.S. measuring a 1-1/2 mile circumference - the same distance run in the Belmont Stakes nicknamed, "The Test of Champions." That's an appropriate description because over the years many famous horses have tried its demanding distance with potential Triple Crowns on the line and come up short. The 20th Century closed in unprecedented drama; for the first time three consecutive runnings of the Belmont Stakes offered the possibility of a Triple Crown sweep.
In 1997, trainer BOB BAFFERT became a racing superstar with his easy-going personality and irreverent humor endeared him to a new generation of fans and the vehicle for his new-found stardom was SILVER CHARM, a battling gray colt with an undistinguished pedigree. TOUCH GOLD would dash all Triple Crown hopes when he crept past SILVER CHARM in the Belmont stretch.
In 1998 BAFFERT was back again...and making the most of his celebrity...this time with an unlikely $17,000 hero...REAL QUIET. Once again, the Triple Crown was vanquished in the final jump at the wire as VICTORY GALLOP just nosed out REAL QUIET by a head-bob photo-finish.
Like a Hollywood script, the Belmont drama carried over to 1999; D. WAYNE LUKAS' ex-claimer, CHARISMATIC, a descendant of SECRETARIAT, would prove that his Derby roses were no fluke when he took the Preakness convincingly. Once again the Triple Crown would go up in smoke as CHARISMATIC immediately pulled up with a fractured leg after a third place finish to LEMON DROP KID. Three straight opportunities, three frustrating losses.
Other Triple Crown hopefuls who came up short in the Belmont include the legendary SPECTACULAR BID in 1979, a relatively unknown Venezuelan import named CANONERO II in 1971, Calumet Farm's TIM TAM who hobbled to the wire on three good legs in the 1958 Belmont, MAJESTIC PRINCE in 1969, SUNDAY SILENCE in 1989, ALYSHEBA in 1987, CARRYBACK the rags-to-riches horse in 1961, Canada's NORTHERN DANCER in 1964, KAUAI KING in 1966 and finally PLEASANT COLONY got tripped up in 1981.
These are the Triple Crown Belmont near-misses...disappointment is as much a part of the sport as hay and oats. But one of the beauties of horse racing is that each Spring brings a new cast of three-year-old characters and the Triple Crown play begins anew.
AS AN ADDED BONUS...An ESPN segment on Belmont Park's 100-year anniversary (1905-2005) is also included after the main feature ends.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|