7 Reasons Why the Triple Crown Buzz Is Muted

We're less than three weeks away from American Pharoah entering the gate for a Triple Crown try. Maybe it's just me, or maybe I am wrong (no jokes about the frequency of that please), but it just doesn't really feel like it. The buzz feels muted.

Here are a few reasons why I think that may be.

1. Someone around the horse might be a dumbass partner, but they ain't a majority owner - Last year Steve Coburn was the figurehead for California Chrome. The man who could play the lead in a CBS remake of the Beverly Hillbillies was a part of the Triple Crown; maybe as much as the trainer and horse were. This drove some eyeballs for sure, because it was the ultimate fish out of water story. Hollywood has made blockbuster movies with that genre, so it's likely that worked for the Triple Crown buzz too.

2. The horse looks like Big Brown, might be as good or better than Big Brown, but right now he's no Big Brown - Big Brown won his preps like Pharoah did but the superhorse buzz surrounding him was much more stout; in my view anyway. Maybe it's the margin of victory in the Derby, the fact that almost the entire field in the Preakness seemed to throw in a clunker, or the easy preps, but Pharoah still seems to have to prove himself to some.

3. Bob Baffert is not the Devil - A couple of recent Triple Crown trainers that created buzz had some serious stuff swirling them. If someone wrote a New York Times article about Rick Dutrow spending vacation time on Baffin Island at a seal hunt, people would believe it. Doug O'Neill - the John Calipari of horse racing - had some wondering if he was smiling while he googled milkshake. The anti-steam those boys brought - fair or not - encapsulated the insider buzz. Baffert has some detractors, but in the end he's vetted, he's been here before, everyone knows him. Plus, when a guy who looks like your fifth grade history teacher plays you in a movie, you can't be half bad.

4. Zayat's - People can go on about the Zayat's on the twitter, but really. They just seem like your average every day rich people who own horses. There's thousands of them around, we're used to it. Plus, when I brought a new owner into racing ten years ago, he was cheering for a five claimer for his first live race (he scared everyone around him) exactly like these guys cheered for Bodemeister. Don't lie, we can relate to that video no matter who we are. It's why we buy horses - any horse. As much as some want a villain, there just doesn't feel like there is one this year.

5. The New York Times has taken a month off - Joe Drape is hanging around, chatting about the Triple Crown like a regular horse racing fan. No Times writer has found evidence of something they find really bad, like positive tests, or trainers who have bad carbon footprints. It's just kind of blah out there in legacy-media land.

6. The Golden State didn't latch on - Last year it felt like there was one horse the massive state of California could get behind. This year there were several - Dortmund and Firing Line but two. It had to have made a difference.

7. It's Early - Maybe there will be some buzz to come, that will trump other tries, like I'll Have Another or Big Brown, or California Chrome. Maybe it's just early.

Enjoy your Wednesday folks!


Ron said...

Big Brown was very good but A.P. just gives me a better visual pesentation and I believe he's a little better. Ironically as good as both looked, Beyer gave them both very low Preakness numbers. BB 100 AP 102. That's a joke. As someone who started making his own numbers in 1982 and understands how difficult it is, especially for uncommon distances and ever changing wind and weather conditions. Common sense just says these weren't 2 of the slowest winners in almost 40 years, raw times aside.

kyle said...

Maybe you could host a survey. Will AP's Belmont most closely resemble California Chrome's, Big Brown's or I'll Have Another's.


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