MORE ON THE 2017 TRIPLE CROWN

It is always going out on a limb to declare how strong or weak a 3-year-old Thoroughbred crop is immediately following the Triple Crown series.  Last year in June, the name Arrogate was relatively unknown.  Even though he didn’t run in a single Triple Crown race, he ended up 2016 by winning the Travers and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, followed in early 2017 by winning the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

As of now, the current 3-year-old crop in North America appears, in aggregate, to be mediocre.  Only one colt, Looking at Lee, competed in all three Triple Crown races.  Additionally, neither the winner of the Kentucky Derby nor the Preakness ran in the Belmont Stakes.  It could be that a late-developing colt emerges later this year, as Arrogate did in 2016.  Or maybe one of the Triple Crown entrants improves so much that he dominates his peers.

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The Preakness is the race in the Triple Crown series with the most uncertainty surrounding it.  Pimlico is so run down that it may take as much as $500 million to rebuild it.  Pimlico’s owner, the Stronach Group, has said that the Preakness will remain in Maryland, though there are no guarantees that it won’t be moved to Laurel Park, also owned by the Stronach Group.

Laurel Park, located near Washington, DC, would likely have a difficult time accommodating the crowd size that typically shows up for the Preakness.  With a crowd of 140,000-plus, parking and seating would be an issue, as well as waiting times at the pari-mutuel windows and concession stands.  The Stronach Group’s other option, notwithstanding its statements about keeping the Preakness in Maryland, is to move the race to its Gulfstream Park facility in southeast Florida near Miami.  This would require the Stronach Group to vastly increase the seating capacity at Gulfstream Park, which would make good business sense because it would then have a physical plant sufficiently large to host the Breeders’ Cup.

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