As with the start of every year, we
anticipate, dream and pray for the next Triple Crown champion to emerge. God
knows if the racing family could wish it into reality, it would have happened
This year wasn’t an exception. As the Derby prep races unfolded, we found
ourselves with a variety of exceptional talent. Shackleford, Uncle Mo, Stay
Thirsty, Master of Hounds, Dialed In, just to name a few. Could one these or any of two dozen others
be the “one?”
Therein layed the problem. So many colts of
such high caliber quality, with the exception of only a couple stakes, yielded a different winner in each prep race. Arguably, there just wasn’t one colt that
jumped out above the rest. The result was three different champions in the
famed Triple Crown races. Respectfully
and not taking anything away from Shackelford, but when he won the Preakness over Animal Kingdom,
I know I shook my head and thought “Well…maybe next year.”
Then, I started thinking about the quality
of fillies in comparison that we’ve seen over the last couple of years.
Zenyatta, of course, a proven phenom in her own
right. But then there was also Rachel Alexandra, not only did we have one
outstanding filly, but two. They were taking everything thrown at them…and winning
consistently, against males and females. I believe if either of these fillies
had been entered in all three Triple Crown races, we would have had our twelfth
winner. Rachel Alexandra proved herself in the Preakness, but she just wasn’t
afforded the opportunity in the Kentucky Derby or Belmont. Zenyatta taking the
Breeders Cup Classic against the colts, again given the opportunity, I believe
she too could have taken the crown.
This year hasn’t really been all that different
when it comes to colts vs. fillies. The fillies have been more consistent.
Havre de Grace, Black Caviar, Goldikova, Winter Memories, all racing at their
own distances and surfaces, but still consistently winning.
The colts are supposed to be bigger,
stronger, have more stamina, but in my
mind’s eye, it’s the heart of the filly that’s winning races.
With that being said, I would bet my next
paycheck, our next Triple Crown champion, given the chance, will have pink
ribbons in her mane.
-- Jody Lawrence