Is this finally the year?


Is this finally the year?

By John Eisenberg

OK, quick quiz: Who resided in the White House the last time a horse won racings Triple Crown?

Hint: You have to go back father than you think.

The correct answer is Jimmy Carter, who was president when Affirmed captured the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1978.

Its been 34 years since racing witnessed a Triple Crown winner, and after capturing the Preakness with a dramatic stretch run Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, Ill Have Another will get a chance to break the drought in the Belmont early next month.

We're thinking Triple Crown, baby, said Doug O'Neill, who trains Ill Have Another. He's a special horse. We'll see how he comes out of (the Preakness), and if he comes out of it in good shape, we're heading to New York, baby.

The chances of him not taking a shot in New York are virtually nil. The entire sport of horse racing wants to see him make history and generate some headlines.

Even the trainers and jockeys who lost to Ill Have Another Saturday were excited to see him win.

It was an amazing race. Good to see a Triple Crown on the line. Thats good for the sport, said trainer Dale Romans, whose horse, Cozzetti, finished seventh Saturday.

Im happy for the winner and a chance for the Triple Crown, said trainer Ignacio Correas, whose horse, Tiger Walk, finished eighth.

Since Affirmed won in 1978, 10 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and taken a run at the Triple Crown in the Belmont. Theyve all fallen short, in a variety of fashions. Spectacular Bid stepped on a pin in his stall and didnt run his usual race in 1979. Silver Charm lost at the wire in 1997. Smarty Jones ran out of gas down the stretch in 2004. Big Brown appeared ed utterly disinterested in 2008.

Now its Ill Have Anothers turn.

The buildup will be New York-style big, and several serious challengers will likely be lying in wait for him, led by Dullahan, the horse that finished third in the Derby and skipped the Preakness. Union Rags, another talented horse that ran seventh in the Derby but had bad luck during the race, is also expected to enter.

There are a lot of horses that have been in this position in the last 15 years, and it didnt happen for them, said J. Paul raddam, who owns Ill Have Another. So were only two-thirds there, right? So weve got to be cool, and try to block everything out. When we get to the Belmont, just ride the race, and if it happens, it happens.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.