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I'll Have Another won't cross the finish line at Saturday's Belmont Stakes after being scratched with a tendon injury
Since Affirmed won the Triple Crown 34 years ago, I’ll Have Another is now the 12th horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes have come up empty at Belmont.
This won’t be the first time that a horse was deprived at a chance at completing the Triple Crown. I’ll Have Another will be the third horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but not run in the Belmont.
In 1936, Bold Venture bowed a tendon before the race and was subsequently retired. Four years earlier, Burgoo King also did not start in the Belmont, but for less clear reasons. Some reports say there was an ankle or tendon injury, while others point to paperwork issues.
Other sports have also seen chances at history dashed by circumstance.
Just ask the 1994 Montreal Expos, who had the best record in the majors when the remainder of the season was canceled due to a strike. The following year, Pedro Martinez had his own near miss. He’d thrown a perfect game through nine innings, but the Expos didn’t give him any run support. Martinez lost the perfect game in the 10th inning.
In 1953 golfer Ben Hogan won three of the four tournaments that now constitute the Grand Slam. However, he was unable to compete in the PGA Championship due to its proximity to the Open Championship.
Tennis is littered with examples of lost Grand Slam opportunities, though never coming in the final tournament. Just 10 years ago, Serena Williams was unable to compete in the Australian Open and then went on to win the next three majors. Steffi Graf suffered that same fate in both 1995 and 1996. Billie Jean King opted not to play in the 1972 Australian Open, and went on to win the next three.
Perhaps the most controversial tennis near miss belongs to Jimmy Connors. In 1974, he was banned from French Open because of a contract he’d signed with World Team Tennis. Connors won the other three grand slams that year.