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Jun 08, 2007

Thoroughbred racing takes hit

By: By Don Agriss - Horse Racing Editor, SPORTS NETWORK

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Street Sense will not be running in the Belmont Stakes, denying racing fans the opportunity to see the top three three-year-olds compete against the each other. It would have been the first time that the first three finishers from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes faced off again in the Belmont Stakes.

Thoroughbred racing takes the hit because Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun had the chance to make history. Sure there won't be a Triple Crown winner, but the rivalry was made to order to grab publicity.

Trainer Carl Nafzger and owner James Tafel can't be criticized for thinking about Street Sense's future.

"We have set goals for this horse," Nafzger said, "we want the Travers and we want the Breeders' Cup Classic. If we can be the first horse to win the (Breeders' Cup) Juvenile, the Derby, the Travers and the Classic, then Mr. Tafel said these are worthy goals, let's go after it."

Racing could have really played up the three-way battle for division supremacy. Sometimes there are two horses going against each other in the Triple Crown races. This year the three colts have separated themselves from the rest of the three-year-old class to set-up potential showdowns.

"Let’s don’t chase spilled water," Nafzger said. "We spilled water in the Preakness, we spilled it. We got beat and we got outran. So that’s behind us and our decision now is to regroup."

This sounds a little bit selfish on the part of Nafzger and Tafel. Keeping Street Sense out of the Belmont Stakes may not hurt racing, but it certainly does it no help.

"I gave Mr. Tafel all of my reasons for going, and all my reasons for not going," said Nafzger. "The Triple Crown is out, Curlin took us out. We’re not going to the Belmont."

For the good of the sport Street Sense should be entered in the Belmont Stakes. The three horse rivalry that has emerged must be kept alive. Let the colts beat up on each other, just as teams do in the four major team sports.

Thoroughbred racing is always looking for something that will capture peoples' imagination. With no Triple Crown on the line this is an excellent chance to do just that. Let the horses meet as often as possible.


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