Wow is all I can say about the performance of Funny Cide in the Preakness. It brought back memories of the great Secretariat’s performance in the Belmont Stakes in 1973.
This is almost getting to be a movie script as the much anticipated "Seabiscuit" flick due out soon. The last horse to sweep the Triple Crown was Affirmed who held off Alydar by the slimmest of margins in all three races and that was 25 years ago. That equals the longest time ever between Triple Crown winners (Citation in 1948 to Secretariat in 1973) so it looks like the due factor may be in effect.
This will be the fifth time in the last seven years that a horse has gone into the Belmont with a shot at the Triple Crown and the $5 million VISA bonus. Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic and War Emblem all could not measure up. Things could just be a little different this year, as this New York bred gelding seems to get better with each race.
The Belmont is starting to look like one of those events that will peak the interest of all sports fans not just us horse junkies. First we will have the much-anticipated rematch of Funny Cide and Empire Maker.
Bobby Frankel, trainer of Empire Maker is probably wondering what he has to do to win a Triple Crown race and may still feel that away after the Belmont. Also primed for the Belmont is Atswhatimtalknbout, who ran a very big race despite trouble in the Derby to finish a fast closing fourth.
A new face that figures to get a lot of support is Dynever, the odds-on winner of the Lone Star Derby. Dynever, trained by top guy Christopher Clement, seems to have unlimited talent. One trainer skipping the Belmont is Bob Baffert, who said his horses are all off the Triple Crown road.
Funny Cide had the crowd solidly behind him after winning the Preakness. The following is great for the sport. As a gelding, we could see him around a long time even if he fails at the Belmont. Already, I can feel the excitement in the air.