Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.
WHY WAS THIS WEEK'S PREP FOR THE KENTUCKY DERBY NAMED THE SHAM STAKES (GIII)?
In the recent times the Triple Crown winner most remembered is Secretariat. His record time in the 1973 Kentucky Derby and 31-length-win in the Belmont Stakes established his racing legacy. In the shadow that year was a very big horse, Sham. He stood 16.2 hands and a physical heart nearly twice the size of the average Thoroughbred’s. In the Kentucky Derby he hit the gate at the start causing him to lose two teeth. But that didn’t show in the race. He chased Secretariat finishing second by only 2.5 lengths. Not intimidated, he took “Big Red” on again in the Preakness Stakes. Again, he fell short by 2.5 lengths. In Belmont Stakes he tried a different strategy. Out the gate he challenged Secretariat trying to steal his chance for the Triple Crown. In the first mile it looked like it was working, until Secretariat had enough and began to run. Sham had enough too and backed up to finish last in the Belmont. He continued to train for the next shot at Secretariat. But it never would be. In July, just a few weeks after the Belmont, Sham pulled up lame after a workout. He had a fractured canon bone which was repaired and he was sent off to stud. One wonders, was his career-ending injury a function in any way of his backing-up in the Belmont stakes race? We will never know for sure.