Top 3 from Derby, Preakness could make Belmont history
NEW YORK -- Even though a Triple Crown won't be on the line, the Belmont Stakes could make racing history.
Should Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun run in the Belmont on June 9, it would be the first time the same top three finishers in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness met again in the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby, with Hard Spun second and Curlin third. Curlin won last week's Preakness, with Street Sense second and Hard Spun third.
The possibility has occurred only five times, but each time only two of the three horses showed up for the 1½-mile Belmont, according to the New York Racing Association.
The last time it happened was 1997, when Silver Charm won the Derby, Captain Bodgit finished second and Free House was third. Silver Charm won the Preakness, too, with Free House second and Captain Bodgit third. Captain Bodgit skipped the Belmont, and Touch Gold won to spoil Silver Charm's Triple Crown bid.
Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said after last Saturday's Preakness he doubted his colt would be back for the Belmont, but said this week he'll wait a few more days before making a final decision.
Curlin, meanwhile, is on target for the race, trainer Steve Asmussen said, and Hard Spun seems likely, according to trainer Larry Jones.
"I think the one thing that everybody wants out of that race (the Preakness) is for the top three finishers to come out of it as they obviously did out of the Derby," Asmussen said earlier this week. "It was so nice to see them all at the Preakness training the way they did."
Street Sense and Curlin are both training again at Churchill Downs, while Hard Spun is at Delaware Park.
"We got beat by two really good horses, we sure don't have anything to be ashamed of," Jones said after the Preakness. "Carl and Steve are both very nice guys, and I'm sure if all three go to Belmont, they're going to feel sorry for him (Hard Spun) and let me have one."
The Belmont could have one of its largest fields in years, with as many as 14 horses. Among the others are the filly Rags to Riches, Circular Quay, Great Hunter, Imawildandcrazyguy, Tiago, Chelokee, Slew's Tizzy, Cristobal and Sightseeing.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, who finished 10th in the Derby and skipped the Preakness, was listed as possible, but trainer Barclay Tagg said Thursday, "I'm not planning on running him in the Belmont."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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