Big Brown Finishes Last; Triple Crown Still Unclaimed

Horse racing's Triple Crown once again has gone unclaimed. Big Brown came in last in Saturday's Belmont Stakes. The winner: a major long shot named Da 'Tara. It doesn't appear that injury was to blame — just a grueling schedule of three races in five weeks.

The loss highlights how difficult it is to win the Triple Crown. Ever since 1978, when Affirmed won the Triple Crown, 10 horses have come to the Belmont racetrack to make history, and all have lost. But racing fans seem to always forget that, and make the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness the favorite.

There were plenty of reasons to bet on Big Brown. There was the assuredness of his trainer, Rick Dutrow, and the fact that Big Brown's closest rival dropped out the day of the race; and what was regarded as weak competition, and the sense of inevitability ...

The fans were fevered as Big Brown was stalking the early speed. But the crowd's confidence was tossed to the ground along with thousands of $2 souvenir win tickets as Big Brown fell behind.

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