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Belmont Stakes 2012: Triple Crown Miss Hamstrings Horse Racing At Awful Moment

The 2012 Belmont Stakes might not have been able to return horse racing's pride of place among American sports, but before I'll Have Another left the race with tendonitis things were looking up for a Triple Crown, one of the few things that could have brought horse-racing into the front of the news cycle for more than the week leading up to each leg. I'll Have Another could have been a celebrity, a horse whose name people remembered and whose stable, maybe, they visited. Now he's just another horse who's won two legs of the Triple Crown without escaping the Belmont Stakes.

Among other entities, NBC, whose ratings are going to crater during the race, must feel pretty rough about the whole thing. But the real loser is horse racing, which needs to find some way to generate interest among casual fans who might be turned into fans outside the Triple Crown season, if only a narrative could find its way into their sports bubble.

Here's hoping I'll Have Another's near-miss inspires more rabid fervor ahead of next year's Kentucky Derby; this injury problem was so sudden that it's bound to stick in peoples' minds when the mint julep hype machine starts humming next spring. Until then, once more it's time to wait until next year.