PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In 1978, all four Philadelphia pro teams were in the playoffs. The Phillies won their third-straight National League East Division title, the Eagles received a miracle in the Meadowlands, New Jersey, Fred Shero left the Flyers and Billy Cunningham just finished up his first year as head coach of the 76ers with a first place finish in the Atlantic Division.READ MORE: Drag Racing On Temple University's Campus Turns Violent, Police Say
In horse racing, Affirmed became the third horse in the decade to win the Triple Crown.
Since then, the Phillies and Sixers won world championships. The Eagles appeared in two Super Bowls and the Flyers in five Stanley Cups. But there’s been no Triple Crown since—until possibly this Saturday at the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes, says 94WIP horse racing experts Jody McDonald and Rob Charry.
American Pharoah captured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and is on the brink of making history with a reduced field of eight horses running in the Belmont.READ MORE: Segura 2 HRs, Nola Sharp, Phillies Beat Mets, Win 4th In Row
“It’s hard not to like a horse than ran away with the Kentucky Derby and ran away with the Preakness, like American Pharoah did, but it seems impossible for a horse win the triple crown, because these horses are not really bred to run this quickly,” said 94WIP weekend afternoon host Rob Charry, a horse aficionado. “It just seems impossible and the Belmont is a longer race that’s why it’s so difficult. You have a mile-and-a-quarter at the Kentucky Derby, a mile-and-three-eighths at the Preakness, but Belmont is a mile-and-a-half. The Horse get eaten up in the stretch at the Belmont. But the competition isn’t as great at the Belmont this year. Carpe Diem and Truth or Else are both scratched.
“Carpe Diem could have provided some competition. I don’t know about Truth or Else. Materiality is a horse I liked in the Kentucky Derby, but he had inside post position and had some traffic trouble and wound up coming in sixth. He came on at the end, but he wasn’t going to catch American Pharoah anyway. I said this last year, I thought California Chrome was going to win the Triple Crown because he looked so good. But I also liked Tonalist, which won. It’s never surprising when a horse gets beat in the Belmont. Not every horse runs in all three races. I don’t know if any horse, other than American Pharoah, is running in all three races. My heart says it’s American Pharoah. Everyone said he was the best horse entering the Kentucky Derby. He looked phenomenal in the Arkansas Derby. Dortmund was the only horse anyone thought could beat him—and Dortmund finished third. It’s hard to go against American Pharoah. You’re not going to make any money. But he really does look like the best horse. I think American Pharoah is going to be the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. I like American Pharoah, followed by Materiality and Frosted.”
McDonald also liked Carpe Diem. But now that Carpe Diem is a scratch, his leaning is towards American Pharoah. The 94WIP evening host made the astute point that with a reduced field of eight horses means less traffic trouble.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Killed, 1 In Critical Condition After Shooting Inside North Philadelphia Deli
“I think Frosted is the only horse that has a chance to beat American Pharoah, but I do believe that we’re looking at the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years in American Pharoah,” McDonald said. “I think American Pharoah is a really, really good horse. If he wins this race on Saturday, he’ll be considered a great horse. He’ll have done something no other horse has done in almost four decades. Even if the rest of his career goes on to be not spectacular, we may go back and question it. I don’t care. You win these three races straight, he’s a great horse. There is a reason why the Triple Crown hasn’t been won in 37 years—because it’s so difficult to do. My trifecta includes American Pharoah, Frosted and Materiality. But it’s going to be really chalky, probably under $100. With the field down to eight, no one is retiring off the Belmont Stakes this Saturday.”