3 Ways To Improve The Triple Crown - Level Up The Playing Field

Wed Apr 29, 2015 15:06:47PM
First time past the stands in the 139th Preakness Stakes.By: Maryland GovPics
It's called the "Test of Champions" for a horse to win all three legs of the Triple Crown. A test so hard in fact that it's only happened really three times under the current formatting (or lack thereof) of the 3-leg event: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. That was in 1948, 1977, and then 1978. Hasn't happened since.

To be fair, there have been retroactively named Triple Crown winners before 1948, 8-9 I believe. But none of them won under the current standards of competition, and therefore many don't recognize them as equal to the three horses that have achieved the feat since. It's been 37 years of drought, crowning a Triple Crown winner in horse racing. And I honestly don't see it happening for many more years to come, at least not until the current format and rules get some changing.

A few things that I think would help, and make the format more fair:

--- All horses participating have to run all 3 legs. That's fair enough, right? Was it fair to California Chrome that Tonalist won the Belmont last year, but Chrome already had raced in the Derby and Preakness beforehand, where Tonalist hadn't and had much fresher legs? If we want make Triple Crown winners legitimately possible, shouldn't all the horses be participating and vying in the same manner?

--- All 3 races should have the same rules and regulations. Another simple sounding rule, no? Unfortunately there is no uniformity to any of the rules because every race is run in a different state. And each racing establishment can run and rule in the manner they see fit. Again, this almost hurt Chrome's chances last year, because the medical rules, for example were different at the Preakness then at the other two races. A sore nose almost cost CC the chance for the big trophy. That should be changed. Will be time consuming to employ national standards, and a board to run it, but ultimately worth it to the sport of horse racing I would say.

--- Space the races out a little further from each other. At least give these horses a longer rest in between legs. What would be the harm in waiting an extra few days or a week or so between races?

Anyways, the 1st and the 3rd ideas here are two of the bigger ones I think would really help out the sport. I don't think it would make it much easier for the horses, just fairer. Horse racing could really use another Triple Crown winner. A drought of 37 years is far too long. And if the sport doesn't evolve, it will continue to dwindle in both revenue and fandom.
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