Triple Crown Disappointment Just A Small Part of the Season
If you've been in racing long enough, you know things can change quickly in this industry. In only a month, the hero can fall into the trap of being forgotten about and an unknown horse can turn into the next hot thing.
In January, Hansen and Union Rags were the big three-year-olds to watch and over the last five weeks, very few words have been uttered about either until yesterday's Belmont.
I'll Have Another seemed to burst on the national scene in the G1 Santa Anita Derby when he beat Creative Cause by a nose (however, the colt won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February before that win) and captured even more attention when winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
The racing gods determined that another Triple Crown winner was not to be this year when the Flower Alley son was scratched from the Belmont and retired due to a tendon issue, sending a sober atmosphere over the running of the last leg of racing's biggest challenge.
However, in the big picture of this year, this isn't something to dwell on for a long time. There is another hero waiting to pop up around every barn door.
For example, Hansen and Union Rags look to continue to build their stories as they prepare for the rest of the season. And with the Triple Crown Trail over, it looks as though the flashy pair will get a chance to shine in two different divisions and allow fans to cheer for both.
You also have the Zayat pair of Bodemeister and Paynter. They not only led their trainer, jockey, and owner to Triple Crown history by finishing second in all three Triple Crown races, they look to be developing into top contenders for the big races in the coming months.
Going through all the talented three-year-olds that look to make the second half of the year exciting would take 5,000 words in itself so instead, I'll also mention the strong older horse and mare & filly divisions. You have the multitude of colts that came back after a three-year-old season last year, the mighty Get Stormy and his foes on the turf, the awesome group of three-year-old fillies and once again, a strong group of older mares to keep us on our toes.
I'll Have Another's scratch in the Belmont will go down in history as a major disappointment but in a year that still has a long way to go, other horses look to try and make up for the racing gods' cruel joke. It won't be easy and we will look back fondly on the run "Cookie" gave us all.
But for hardcore racing fans, the rest of the year looks pretty bright and exciting. Not only are the horses mentioned above returning for another six months of racing, two-year-olds looks to make their debuts soon as well, if they haven't already. And who knows, the next Triple Crown winner may be training for a start in just a few days.
Racing may have suffered a disappointment this weekend, but like every other year the sport will rebound. And with so many amazing animals still racing, it's time to focus on the future and not what could have been. We owe that to those animals still on the track.