Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners who stumbled in Belmont Stakes
MAY 17, 2014 9:30p ET
Two down and a mile and a half to go ...
California Chrome has swept the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and is one race away from joining the elite fraternity of 11 Triple Crown winners. There's another more dubious fraternity, however, those who won the first two legs and failed to complete the trifecta. Here's a look at the 22 horses who came up short.
The first two horses to turn the Derby-Preakness double but not the Triple Crown were Burgoo King in 1932 and Bold Venture in 1936. They can't be blamed for failing to complete the Triple Crown because they didn't get a chance, as both didn't even race in the Belmont.
The reasons for Burgoo King missing the race are still a bit of a mystery -- some reports say he was injured, others say his handlers didn't file the proper paperwork. Bold Venture had to be retired after the Preakness due to injury.
Among those who finished second in the third leg were Pensive (1944), Tim Tam (1958), Forward Pass (1968), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and Smarty Jones (2004).
Taking the show dough in the third leg of the Triple Crown after capturing the opening two were Northern Dancer (1964), Spectacular Bid (1979), Pleasant Colony (1981), Charismatic (1999), and Funny Cide (2003).
Those who were off the board in the Belmont were Carry Back (1961), Kauiai King (1966), Alysheba (1987), War Emblem (2002) and Big Brown (2008).
The most recent horse to capture the first two legs and not win the Belmont was I'll Have Another, who was scratched on the eve of the final race in 2012.
Here's a look at some of the races that saw Triple Crown threats come up short.
Deemed seemingly unbeatable, Spectacular Bid was the heavy favorite in 1979. But a questionable ride by jockey Ron Franklin and subsequent news that the horse had stepped on a safety pin in his stall before the race doomed his chances:
The classic East Coast-West Coast rivalry was on tap in 1989 as Sunday Silence topped Easy Goer in the first two legs. However, the Belmont was contested in New York, Easy Goer's home and the colt denied Sunday Silence and trainer Charlie Whittingham:
Perhaps the most painful loss was that suffered by the Bob Baffert-trained Real Quiet in 1998. Real Quiet opened what seemed to be an insurmountable lead in the stretch only to get nailed on the wire by Gary Stevens and Victory Gallop:
A year later, the charming story of Charismatic fell apart in the Belmont. Ridden by Chris Antley, Charismatic was injured late in the race and finished third:
In 2004, Smarty Jones appeared destined for the Triple Crown fraternity. It looked as if he was going to take his spot among the elite ... until Birdstone gobbled up ground and denied Smarty Jones:
Big Brown was basically anointed before the Belmont. He couldn't lose. He was toying with his competition. But that's why they call it horse racing. Big Brown wound up being eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux in 2008 as another horse's dreams were doused:
Of course, there are days when history is made. So, we're going to share the greatest performance ever by a Thoroughbred. Check out the immortal Secretariat's Triple Crown-clinching 31-length victory in 1973. There was no doubt on that Belmont day: