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The Real Impact of a Triple Crown Winner

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Since American Pharoah's Preakness win in May, both casual and diehard horse fans alike have been waiting to see if he could also win the Belmont and deliver Thoroughbred horse racing's first triple crown winner since 1978.

A dozen or more horses have had a shot at the Triple Crown since Affirmed last accomplished the feat back in 1978, but none of them have been able to finish the deal at Belmont in New York.

And since nearly 40 years have gone by in that time, we're getting to the point where multiple generations have never experienced a year with a triple crown "super" horse.

I'm not really old enough to remember Affirmed very well, and I certainly wasn't old enough to be tuned into the social impact like I would be as an adult. Undoubtedly, times have changed in sports since 1978. Horseracing means less to the average American than it once did. But in an era where major sports fret and worry about the interminable length of their games, a sport that lasts around two minutes per race would seem a natural fit with the new generation.

But suppose American Pharoah does succeed in winning the Triple Crown. One of the inherent flaws in the sport is that its stars have no place to shine publicly once they've been made. Sometimes the Breeders' Cup Classic but not always and never to very much mainstream fanfare.

Alas, even a Triple Crown horse's fame window may be very brief. No matter what happens in the Belmont, enjoy it while it lasts. And if American Pharoah doesn't do it, there's always next year.