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).

The Triple Crown: The 30-Year Drought

May 31, 2008 07:55 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Thirty years ago, Affirmed became the third Triple Crown winner in six years. No horse has won it since.

30-Second Summary

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, 17 horses won two legs of the Triple Crown, including 10 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.

Will Big Brown suffer one of these fates, or is he the one to break a 30-year drought? Take a look back at the 30 years of Triple Crown futility, and decide for yourself.

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 watching or attending the 2008 Belmont Stakes, visit our Web Guide to The Belmont Stakes.

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

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