The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 27, 2014

Horse racing: Past Triple Crown winners ready for new champ

By Beth Harris

The Associated Press

Patrice Wolfson is ready to give up her title as the co-owner of the last Triple Crown winner.

She will get the chance if California Chrome is successful in his bid to join Affirmed and 10 other horses atop racing's pinnacle.

No horse since Affirmed in 1978 has swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Since then, 11 have won the first two legs only to fail in the 11/2-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three races that are run over a five-week span. Wolfson and other connections of Triple Crown winners believe this may be the year they get to induct another member into their exclusive club.

"You just like to see a great horse win it and I think he's got the potential to be a great horse, so we'll be cheering for him," Wolfson said Tuesday by phone from New York.

Wolfson, who owned Affirmed with her late husband Louis, will be at Belmont Park on June 7. She'll be joined by others with ties to Triple Crown winners, including 92-year-old Penny Chenery, who owned 1973 champion Secretariat.

"If this horse can win the Triple Crown, I want to be there," Chenery said from her home in Boulder, Colo.

The jockeys who rode the last three Triple Crown winners will be at Belmont, too: Steve Cauthen (Affirmed), Jean Cruget (Seattle Slew) and Ron Turcotte (Secretariat).

The 1970s produced three Triple Crown winners, with Secretariat breaking a 25-year drought. Seattle Slew followed in 1977 and Affirmed came along the next year, leading many to believe the Triple Crown was an easy feat.

Now 36 years have passed since Cauthen, who was then 18, teamed with Affirmed to hold off Alydar in three thrilling races, capped by their victory by a head in the Belmont.

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