Three different horses win the Triple Crown races

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens really thought this was going to be the year.

"The way Orb won the Kentucky Derby, I thought we'd have another Triple Crown winner," he told me in a lengthy interview for a story that ran in Saturday's L.A. Times.

Of course, it didn't happen. Stevens wrecked Orb's dreams when he rode Oxbow to a win in last month's Preakness. And Saturday, Stevens' best friend, Mike Smith, denied Oxbow the third leg when he rode Palace Malice to a win in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Oxbow finished second and Kentucky Derby winner Orb was third.

So, we still have no Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

I asked Stevens, who turned 50 in March, how long it might take.

"Maybe not in my lifetime," he responded.

Stevens said there is too much specialization in the sport.

"It's become a poker game," he said, "where specific horses are designed to win the three different races.

"Prize money," Stevens added. "And the second two jewels of the race you have fresh courses coming in."

Stevens said there's a way you could increase the odds of another Triple Crown winner.

"If you don't run in the Derby, you can't run in the other two legs," he said.


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