On DVD or VHS: Above picture is of JAIPUR and RIDAN in the 1962 Travers Stakes at Saratoga
Some of the, "Sport of Kings", crowning moments are showcased with the help of the Daily Racing form and Blood-Horse Magazine; it is said that a great race requires circumstance as well as outstanding performance and finish on the track. Those three elements come together in the next eleven memorable events in racing history starting with:
1) The nail-biting, down-to-the-wire nose finish of AFFIRMED and ALYDAR in the '78 Belmont - the fifth photo-finish between the two in their nine meetings.
There have been closer finishes in the Triple Crown, among the most memorable was:
2) The 114th Preakness - the '89 race of the year, hair victory of SUNDAY SILENCE over EASY GOER. What a stretch duel - the best of the East vs. the West's best!
3) GALLANT MAN's narrow loss to IRON LIEGE in the stellar field of the '57 Kentucky Derby due to his jockey, WILLIE SHOEMAKER's misjudgment of the finish line, cost him the victory. That mistake that SHOEMAKER made was one of the few he ever made in is hall of fame career.
"THE SHOE" was involved in many other outstanding races including:
4) One of the all-time greatest duels involving his mount, JAIPER vs. RIDAN in the '62 Travers; the two ran side-by-side the ENTIRE 1-1/4 race and hit the wire nose-to-nose with JAIPER just narrowly taking the victory.
5) In the first running of the Arlington Million in '81, JOHN HENRY closed ground just in time to snatch the glory from THE BART, who clung tenaciously on the rail.
6) Race fans have always been fascinated by those battles of the old stars against the young and one of this sports' greatest warriors was KELSO and in the '64 Woodward the seven-year-old gelding would win by a nose to the much younger GUN BOW.
7) Another great race of age and youth was the '76 Marlboro Cup victory of the six-year-old gelding, FOREGO, over HONEST PLEASURE in which FOREGO carried the most weight of his career, 137 lbs., spotting 18-28 lbs. to the rest of the field. It was the essence of Thoroughbred racing; a great horse more heavily burdened than at any other time in his career straining to catch a younger horse which also was running the race of his life - he caught him in the final stride!
The Breeders' Cup was designed to be Thoroughbred racing's' season ending climax to give this sport a championship day and the next three races are everything a great race should be:
8) In the '87 Breeders’ Cup Classic, two Derby winners hit the wire together for a dramatic photo-finish with FERDINAND holding on by a nose and edging the younger, ALYSHEBA, for '87 Horse-of-the-Year honors.
9) It was the fourth meeting of the year between SUNDAY SILENCE and EASY GOER in the '89 Breeders’ Cup Classic in which SUNDAY SILENCE barely held off the oncoming power of EASY GOER, a threatening presence as he was set down for the fierce drive home - it was sadly the end of a racing epic between the two as they would never meet again.
10) In the '88 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, PERSONAL ENSIGN made racing history by unleashing a furious run and capturing '88 Derby victor, WINNING COLORS, at the wire and retiring with an undefeated record of 13 wins in as many starts.
And finally, the greatest race of our time:
11) SECRETARIAT's '73 Belmont as he was attempting to become racing's 9th-only Triple Crown winner after a 25-year drought - it was a race for the ages. He demolished the field, winning by an incomprehensible 31 lengths and doing so in a new track record time of 2:24 flat. It was a performance that will forever be a yardstick for greatness in Thoroughbred racing.
Re-live these historic racing moments!
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