Past Connections Hopeful forTriple Crown Sweep
May 30, 2015 11:51am
Speaking via a teleconference held by the NTRA, the connections from each of the Triple Crown winners of the 1970s weighed in on the memories of joining horse racing's most prestigious club, while also commenting on American Pharoah's chance to become a member this year. The esteemed speakers included Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat (1973); Dr. Jim Hill, co-owner of Seattle Slew (1977); Patrice Wolfson, co-owner of Affirmed (1978); jockeys Ron Turcotte (Secretariat), Jean Cruguet (Seattle Slew) and Steve Cauthen (Affirmed); and trainer Billy Turner (Seattle Slew).

In unison, all agreed that a successful bid by American Pharoah to win the Belmont Stakes on June 6 and become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown winner would inject interest and vitality in the sport among popular culture.

"It will be great for racing," commented Cauthen. "This attempt by American Pharoah has the chance to create lifelong fans for racing, as it did when each of us won our respective races in the Triple Crown series."

Although none thought they would have to wait now 37 years to welcome another member - with 13 failed attempts already - Turner was confident in the abilities of American Pharoah and trainer Bob Baffert to have his horse ready to run a big race in the Belmont. This will be the fourth time Baffert has brought a horse to the Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown.

"The way he ran in the Preakness, it sure looked like it didn't take anything out of him," said Turner. "I'm really, really surprised that [Baffert] didn't bring this horse to New York following the Preakness to workout over the track, like he's previously done in the past, but having done that before and not winning, maybe he wanted to try something different this time."   

Speaking on media attention during Triple Crown races, Penny Chenery distinctly remembered the coverage Secretariat got heading into and following his historic, record-breaking performance in the Belmont, including three simultaneous national magazine covers.

"It was a busy time, with three separate magazine covers at one time, but we managed to get everything done," Chenery reflected.

Patrice Wolfson, co-owner of Affirmed spoke to the unique circumstances that surround each Triple Crown try, including the 13th failed attempts since Affirmed last accomplished the feat in 1978.

"Each circumstance is memorable but different," said Wolfson. "We had a unique battle coming against Calumet that drew that much more attention to our run, through the Belmont and after. What is interesting is the connection of 2-year-old champions that have gone on to win the Triple Crown as 3-year-olds, which American Pharoah is, so that is hopeful."

In seven days, the fate of American Pharoah's bid to enter racing immortality will be decided. What is already certain, however, is that the current members of the club will be cheering for him to get there.

Source: NYRA


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