Belmont Stakes, Potential Triple Crown Obscured By Sports Noise

Justify A Heavy Favorite Again The NBA playoffs are at a critical juncture. The Stanley Cup playoffs could be over soon. The screaming about the Philadelphia Eagles and their...

Justify A Heavy Favorite Again

The NBA playoffs are at a critical juncture. The Stanley Cup playoffs could be over soon. The screaming about the Philadelphia Eagles and their aborted White House trip overwhelms nearly all and involves almost no civil discourse at all.

And somewhere in the suburbs of New York City, a horse is being shown to his comfortable stall, keeping his thoughts to himself.

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will play on Wednesday night in Cleveland. The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights do their thing on Thursday night in Vegas. In Elmont, New York, Justify will munch some hay, have a few workouts and run in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The Triple Crown was not such a rarity in horse racing’s heyday (ok, bad pun). There have been 12 winners of three key races and it happened in 1930, 1935, 1937, 1941, 1943, 1946 and 1948. There was a drought in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and then the ‘70s saw Triple Crown winners in 1973, 1977 and 1978.

After another lengthy dry patch, American Pharoah won in 2015. It seems almost inconceivable that Justify won’t join him. And it hasn’t been an easy or clean road, with muddy conditions at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

The Belmont is the sternest test, at 1 ½ miles. Justify looked a bit tired at the end of the Preakness nearly three weeks ago, but he’s installed as the 4-5 favorite for this endurance test.

Post time Saturday is 6:46 p.m. ET. For horse racing fans, the possibility of a Triple Crown winner also adds allure and teases us with its hint of greatness.

At the end (I promise you), the horse will say nothing controversial, win or lose.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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