Triple Crown Near Misses: Twenty Grand

    Twenty Grand is best known for his many battles on the turf with Equipoise – not his unsuccessful bid for a Triple Crown one year after Gallant Fox took the same award. But that year was not a battle of two horses, but four (Jamestown and Merit were also outstanding horses that year). In fact, Merit cost Twenty Grand a chance at immortality. Twenty Grand was good as a 2-year-old, but not great, winning half of his eight starts. Instead,… Read More »Triple Crown Near Misses: Twenty Grand

    March 2, 1980 – Spectacular Bid wins Santa Anita Handicap

      Spectacular Bid entered the $350,000 Santa Anita Handicap, scheduled for March 2, and the racing secretary assigned him a career-high 130 pounds for the 1 1/4 mile race. Bid had never carried more than 126 pounds. When race day arrived, it brought torrential rains, making things miserable for the 49,285 who showed up to see Bid race. It also turned the racetrack into a mud pit. To keep the mud out of his mount’s face, Shoemaker sent Spectacular Bid close to… Read More »March 2, 1980 – Spectacular Bid wins Santa Anita Handicap

      Triple Crown Near Misses: Zev Gets a Kick in the Gut

        When Gallant Fox won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, horse racing historians began scrambling through old Daily Racing Forms to see who else had won the newly coined Triple Crown. They found that only one – Sir Barton – had taken all three races; poor Zev didn’t make the cut. Zev was the first horse to run in all three races of the Triple Crown and lose one – the beginning of dozens of agonizing “what-ifs” that… Read More »Triple Crown Near Misses: Zev Gets a Kick in the Gut