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Editorial: My First Triple Crown? Possibly

I’ve never covered a Triple Crown possibility at the Belmont Stakes…but I will on Saturday, June 9. I’ve covered the race since 2010…but not one of this magnitude. So far, I’m 1-for-2 in torrential downpours during the race…There are talks of 70 degrees and sunny. Fingers crossed.

It’s been 34 years since Affirmed took the crown in 1978. There have been 11 tries for the coveted title since, most notably four years ago when Big Brown fell to Da’Tara, eight years since Smarty Jones was edged out of history by Birdstone and 11 years since Funny Cide lost to Empire Maker on a rainy day in Elmont. War Emblem lost to Sarava in 2002.

Who knows what stories will brew leading up to the big race around 6 p.m. in Elmont. Will I’ll Have Another finally break through and give horseracing a history maker? Or will another long shot take the race this year, much like 24-1 horse Ruler on Ice in 2011 or 2010 13-1 winner Drosselmeyer?

The hallowed grounds just east of Queens have been a staple of the Elmont community since the turn of the century. It’s the longest of each of the Triple Crown races, being titled the “Test of Champions” or the “Run for the Carnations” since the winning horse is draped in them after its victory.

Last week, New York was treated to New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana tossing the first no-hitter in the franchise’s 50-year history. I think the state needs a bit more history on Saturday, making June 2012 truly the month of New York.

—RF