On a fast track or a muddy one, the winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes will not be celebrating a Triple Crown. With Orb rallying to take the Kentucky Derby and Oxbow winning in wire-to-wire fashion at Pimlico, the Tripe Crown drought is guaranteed to continue for at least one more year.
The last horse to sweep the crown jewels of the Triple Crown was Affirmed, who edged Alydar in a thrilling duel at Belmont Park in 1978. Affirmed's triumph capped an incredible stretch that produced three Triple Crown horses in six years.
"People will tell you about the great races between Citation and Noor out in California in the early 1950s, and the race between Ridan and Jaipur in the Travers at Saratoga in 1962. Great races. But Affirmed and Alydar in the Belmont? Probably the best horse race that's ever been run," Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens told Sports Illustrated not long after the historic race. "I'll look at it again and again anytime I'm fortunate enough to get the chance. I'll raise a glass to 'em while I'm watchin' the replays and, damn, I'll root—come on Affirmed, come on Alydar. Come on Cauthen, come on Velasquez. Whatever it is that these two horses have cannot be bought or manufactured. It's the greatest act horse racing has ever had. I hope it never ends."
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While the Affirmed-Alydar battle made history with its competitiveness, the triumph of Secretariat in 1973 is remembered for entirely different reasons. Big Red's Triple Crown-sealing run was arguably the least competitive Triple Crown race of all time. Secretariat won by a record 31 lengths and completed the 1 1/2-mile trip in world record time, according to ESPN.
WATCH: Secretariat's Historic Belmont Win