Big weekend on the international front with the unbeaten Frankel returning to racing with a telling victory in the Lockinge at Newbury, while I’ll Have Another (below) followed up his Kentucky Derby success by taking out the Preakness Stakes, again relegating Bodemeister to second.
Timeform reacted quickly to the Frankel win, by allocating the son of Galileo a 142 rating – one pound less than his career high after taking out the QEII last year – but still six up on Black Caviar.
Wonder what the ratings will be if BC ever gets the chance to hand Frankel his char grilled rump to him on a platter?
I’ll Have Another will now attempt to become the first horse since Affirmed back in 1978 to capture the Triple Crown when he heads to New York for the Belmont Stakes on 9 June.
The 34 year drought is the longest in Triple Crown history and to give you a mental picture, the now 52 year old Steve Cauthen was just an 18 year old kid when he became the toast of America by steering home Affirmed in three epic battles with Alydar.
Real Quiet who stood in Australia for three seasons and produced just three stakes winners in this neck of the woods, came the closest when he was just pipped in the 1998 Belmont, while Smarty Jones (who shuttled in 2006 and 2007) won the first two legs before being knocked out in a Belmont boilover in 2004.
Just for the record, Affirmed’s triple in 1978 was preceded the year before by Seattle Slew and almost equalled a year later when Spectacular Bid won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
It would have been first time that the triple was tripled (since the series began in 1875) and at one stage – between Gallant Fox in 1930 and Citation in 1948 – it was captured seven times.
But since Spectacular Bid in 1979, Pleasant Colony (1981), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004) and Big Brown (2008) have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, while Swale (1984), Risen Star (1988), Hansel (1991), Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Point Given (2001) and Afleet Alex (2005) have won either the Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont.
In other words, despite the Triple Crown drought, 19 of those years have produced some form of double.