Affirmed, ridden by jockey Steve Cauthen, pulls ahead of Alydar to win the Belmont
Stakes, June 10, 1978 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP).

Big Brown Loses, 30-Year Triple Crown Drought Continues

June 08, 2008 03:35 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Longshot Da'Tara won Saturday's Belmont Stakes as Big Brown became the 11th horse in 30 years to fall short after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown. No horse has won it since Affirmed in 1978.

30-Second Summary

The racing world struggles today to understand how Big Brown could have been so good winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and so bad losing the Belmont Stakes.  We analyze his races and those of the 17 other horses who have won two legs of the Triple Crown since 1978 to arrive at an understanding of why the Triple Crown is so elusive.
We also provide links to race videos and related articles about each of the 18 horses.

For our full article devoted to Big Brown's loss, click here.

In 1978, Affirmed beat Alydar in the Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown. Following closely on the heels of Seattle Slew and Secretariat, Affirmed was the third Triple Crown winner in six years.

The following year, Spectacular Bid dominated the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and it appeared that having a Triple Crown winner would become almost an annual rite.

But Spectacular Bid came up short, starting a Triple Crown drought that has last ever since. In those 30 years, 18 horses won two legs of the Triple Crown, including 11 who won the first two and came to Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line.  Perhaps even more daunting is the fact that only three horses have won the Triple Crown in 60 years.

Some encountered an unfavorable track condition; others suffered from a bad trip or a bad day. Several were left staggering by a heated internal duel and beaten by a long-shot. Still others quite simply lost to a quality foe who, at least on one day, was simply the better horse.

In each section, the race names are colored hyperlinks.  Click the race name to display a video of the race.  Or click here to access the official Kentucky Derby channel on YouTube, which offers high-quality replays of the race back to 1982, and click here to access official Belmont Stakes replays back to 1970, and for all Triple Crown winners except Sir Barton.

To learn everything there is to know about  Horse Racing, visit our Web Guide to Horse Racing.

History of the Triple Crown

1978: Affirmed - The Last Horse to Win the Triple Crown
1979: Spectacular Bid
1981: Pleasant Colony
1984: Swale
1987: Alysheba
1988: Risen Star
1989: Sunday Silence
1991:  Hansel
1994: Tabasco Cat
1995: Thunder Gulch
1997: Silver Charm
1998: Real Quiet
1999: Charismatic
2001: Point Given
2002: War Emblem
2003: Funny Cide
2004: Smarty Jones
2005: Afleet Alex
2008: Big Brown

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