Five-plus months of Triple Crown mania ended Saturday when Drosselmeyer scored the Belmont Stakes in upset fashion. It completed a hard-to-figure 3-year-old series in which we not only had three different winners, but also three different runner-ups.
So, what did we learn from the 2010 Triple Crown? Not a whole lot, as far as I can tell. There is still no clear-cut leader in the division.
Last year, we also had three different horses win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont, but the situation was a bit different. By the end of the Triple Crown, we all had a pretty good idea that Rachel Alexandra was the best 3-year-old around, and she proved it emphatically the rest of the year. Summer Bird also went on to have a superb season, giving the 2009 crop a couple of legitimate stars.
It won't be that simple this year. It will take the rest of the summer and likely the fall to determine our 3-year-old champion. I won't go as far to call this a mediocre group just yet--though it certainly has the started out that way, especially after the injury to Eskendereya. I think we need to give them the rest of the year to prove themselves. A few of these horses look like they have the potential to be Summer Bird types--late-bloomers with a lot of upside.
So who will be the 3-year-old champion when all is said and one? Nobody knows for sure, but it's fun to try to predict these things.
It could be argued that the two best 3-year-olds did not even win one of the Triple Crown races. Many would say that First Dude ran the best races in both the Preakness and the Belmont without winning. He took all the heat on the front end while still fighting gamely in the stretch. Obviously a big, strong colt, he looks like he is just getting very good right now.
Fly Down looks like he is finding himself too. He proved that his Dwyer was no fluke by running very well in the Belmont. And he has now finished ahead of First Dude all three times they have met. A good rivalry could be in the works.
Of the three Triple Crown race winners, Lookin At Lucky is certainly the classiest. When he has gotten a decent trip, he has never been beaten. And don't forget, in every year since 2001, the Preakness winner has gone on to be a 3YO champ.The verdict is still out about how good Super Saver and Drosselmeyer can be.
And let's not forget about a very talented horse almost ready to return from injury--Winslow Homer. He had all the looks of a star after the Holy Bull. He is being pointed to all the summer classics.
Hopefully, many of the aforementioned 3-year-olds, as well as Ice Box, Jackson Bend, Sidney's Candy, Noble's Promise, and others will meet in the Jim Dandy, Haskell, Travers, and Breeders' Cup. It probably was not the most exciting Triple Crown we've ever seen, but there is still much to look forward to the rest of the year.