OK. California Chrome wasn’t able to beat out a field of well-rested, fresh horses last Saturday and the Triple Crown trophy gets put away for the 12th time in 36 years. However, I would like to make the point that he did beat the only other two horses that ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown: General A Rod, who finished 7th and Ride On Curlin, who finished last.
If you ask me (and who pays much attention to what us horses think) owners should not be able to pick and choose which of the three Triple Crown races they want their horses to run in. It’s not fair for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to have to race against a field of fresh and well-rested horses over the longest distance of all three races. Of Course, Secretariat did it in 1973 as did Seattle Slew in 1977, as well as Affirmed in 1978, with Alydar coming in second each time (one of Thoroughbred Racing’s greatest rivalries, by the way) The true test would be who has the endurance and the heart to stay the course, run in all three races, and win one race, two races, or all three races.
We Quarter Horses also have our own Quarter Horse racing Triple Crown: Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American Futurities. Unlike the Thoroughbred Triple Crown where all the horses are 3-year-olds, the Quarter Horse Triple Crown is for 2-year-olds and they run 6 races vs. 3: a qualifying run from which the 10 fastest horses advance to the final run. The distances increase with each futurity: 350 yards (a little over 1.5 furlongs) for Ruidoso, 400 yards (a little over 1.75 furlongs) for Rainbow, and 440 yards (2 furlongs) for All American. If these distances may seem short to you, remember these are 2-year-olds running all out, no holding back. And they are doing that twice in the same day over a 3 1/2 month period. Only one horse has ever won the Quarter Horse Triple Crown: Special Effort in 1981.
In the world of Quarter Horse cutting horses, there is also a Triple Crown: the Futurity, the Super Stakes, and the Derby. These events all take place at the same venue, the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The BIG difference is that there are several months in between each event. The Futurity takes place in December and only three-year-olds that have never shown before are qualified to enter. The Super Stakes takes place the following April, and the Derby in July. If you think winning Thoroughbred Racing’s Triple Crown is hard to win, only three horses have managed to win NCHA’s Triple Crown (NCHA stands for National Cutting Horse Association): Smart Little Lena in 1983, Docs Okie Quixote in 1984 and Chiquita Pistol in 2003
I know there are several other “Triple Crowns”, but these are the only ones I’m covering today. You can look them up on Wikipedia. Time to get back to my favorite pass time: grazing.