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The Top Three Highlights of the 2011 Triple Crown

The 2011 Triple Crown season was one to remember. (AP Images)

It was in the end a fascinating Triple Crown season. Although there was no possibility of a Triple Crown winner, there was plenty of drama in all three races to make it compelling viewing. The pundits called 2011 one of the hardest seasons to handicap as favorites faded and longshots came home.

1.  It all began with early surprises in the Kentucky Derby. Leading up to the race Uncle Mo was the favorite but was pulled at the last minute due to an intestinal infection leaving highly touted Dialed In as the frontrunner. However the race belonged to a little known 20-1 underdog named Animal Kingdom who stunned the field and experts alike. The charge by Animal Kingdom down the stretch to overtake the front runners will indeed be remembered as an inspiring moment in Triple Crown history.

2.  The Preakness featured a mix of both Derby veterans and new challengers. The shorter track would favor the speedsters although both Dialed In and Animal Kingdom were still considered the horses to beat. It was however the amazing run by Shackleford that will be remembered as he led from the start and never let up despite a near comeback by Animal Kingdom. The colt’s gutsy win and Animal Kingdom’s near shot at a Triple Crown made for riveting racing.

3.  The last highlight is perhaps the one that never was. Dialed In was considered to be of championship caliber according to trainer Nick Zito, but the horse failed to materialize as a contender in either the Kentucky Derby or in the Preakness. Finishing a disappointing 8th and 4th respectively, Dialed In seemed to suffer from both poor rides and a lacklustre effort and surprised all by failing to compete.

Although there have been much more famous Triple Crown seasons in the past, 2011 proved to be an exciting one nonetheless and demonstrated that there may be more parity in thoroughbred racing now than ever before.
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