Belmont Curse (05/20/15)



American Pharoah easily won the Preakness Stakes and now just the Belmont Stakes stands between him and becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.

Can American Pharoah conquer the 1.5 mile distance? Perhaps, but few horses are capable of winning at both the shorter distances, like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and the much longer track like the Belmont.

How often previous race winners won Belmont

Race Winner 1926 to 1978 1979 to Present
Only won Kentucky Derby 24.2% 8.7%
Only won Preakness Stakes 18.2% 21.7%
Won Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes 50.0% 0.0%

Note: Stats courtesy of fivethirtyeight.com

Before 1979, if a horse won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes there was a 50% chance of a Triple Crown winner. Since then no horse has accomplished the feat. The lack of Triple Crown winners can be partly explained by specialization in horses, short vs. long distance runners. Also, fatigue of the horse trying to win the Triple Crown and the addition of fresh horses in the Belmont further complicates the race.

History says that horses have gotten worse at running both short and long distances. Will American Pharoah fall prey to the past or prove himself in the “Test of Champions?”


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