The odd, controversial Triple Crown season ended Saturday with another eye-opening performance as SIR WINSTON Won the Belmont Stakes from off the pace at 10-1 odds.
With the exception of the upset Victory, the Belmont was relatively uneventful when compared to the first two races of the series. The Kentucky Derby (the most exciting 22 minutes in sports) featured a disqualification over a rider’s objection. While the Preakness gave us BODEXPRESS and his jockey-less joyride around the track.
There is no questioning that this year’s Triple Crown season was undeniably unique. And while it may not be memorable in the ways that AMERICAN PHAROAH and JUSTIFY made it so in recent years, it will always be referred to, and not forgotten anytime soon.
In general, the sport of horse racing took a hit during the past five weeks, and it was not entirely due to the Kentucky Derby controversy. If anything, in a sport often scrutinized for safety, the widespread attention for actually enforcing rules intended for safety was probably a positive thing.
But seeing as how there had never been a DQ in the Derby there was a lot to unpack here, and boy it was messy.
The review process after the KD dragged out on live television, and the stewards then did a poor job of explaining/defending their decision. Then came the 15-day suspension of jockey Luis Saez, which seemed overly harsh for his actions, and also went unexplained.
Meanwhile, the connections of MAXIMUM SECURITY (the disqualified horse) bypassed the opportunity to run in the Belmont and perhaps change the narrative while also gaining the interest of fans who normally aren’t tuning in to horse racing.
When looking back on the 2019 Triple Crown season there won’t be a lot of fond recollections. And the Kentucky Derby debacle is not entirely to blame. Even prior to the KD the headline stories were bad, with the situation at Santa Anita being especially horrific, and bothersome. These issues should not be swept under the carpet. They need to be addressed, and rectified.
There are still scribes out there who believe the sports popularity is waning, and will eventually cease to exist. Well, the Daily Racing Blog begs to differ. Horse racing nirvana begins next month, as Saratoga Race Course is set to open on July 11th. The track will no doubt break the previous years attendance record, as well as the on-track betting handle. So for six weeks of racing the peripheral madness will cease, and all will be right with the world at America’s favorite race track.