TEMECULA, Calif. (April 1, 2018) – They are the three spring Saturdays where a horse can write history with his hoofprints, where all eyes from the sporting world are focused on the fastest and most exciting two minutes in sports.
It is horse racing’s Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. And aside from being there in person, there is no better place to watch thoroughbred racing history being made than at the Pechanga OTB.
Located inside the Poker Room on the second floor above Pechanga’s spacious casino, Pechanga OTB is offering a special Triple Crown Package to guests. Starting April 1 and running through April 15, guests can purchase a seat in the first two rows of the Pechanga OTB parlor for all three races for $50. That not only guarantees you a seat to watch and wager on the Triple Crown races, but guarantees you a seat with a personal television monitor.
Seats in the next three rows are $45 for all three races. The Triple Crown Package is only available for purchase at the Pechanga Box Office, Ticketmaster or via a link to Ticketmaster on Pechanga.com from April 1 through April 15. After April 15, only individual race days are available for $30 for the first two rows and $25 for the next three. Seats for viewing and wagering will also be available in the Round Bar on a first come, first served basis.
On top of that, Pechanga OTB is featuring another dining special for the Kentucky Derby. For $10.95, guests get their choice of Chicken Adobo with White Rice or Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Guests may also enjoy specials on the official Kentucky Derby drink – mint juleps – at Pechanga OTB and the Round Bar.
“This is Pechanga OTB’s first Triple Crown season and based on our previous big race days, this is going to be on another level,” said Richie Lopez, Pechanga’s assistant director of the poker room and OTB parlor. “I’m sure these seats are going to sell out very quickly because we have a great crop of 3-year-olds racing and because the atmosphere Pechanga OTB offers during big race days.”
With a competitive and deep group of 3-year-olds who were foaled the year American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years (2015), the atmosphere at Pechanga OTB promises to be electric. Already, such standout West Coast thoroughbreds as Bolt d’Oro, McKinzie, Solomini, Justify and Instilled Regard are literally chomping at the bit to get a crack at Eastern horses such as Noble Indy (the current Kentucky Derby points leader), Catholic Boy, Good Magic, Quip and Magnum Moon.
All of these thoroughbreds are preparing for their final Derby prep races at tracks from California to New York, including the Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial from Aqueduct in New York on April 7.
But no matter where these horses call home, they’re all chasing history – more specifically, one of the most elusive feats in sporting history. Since the Kentucky Derby became the final jewel in the Triple Crown in 1875, only 12 horses have managed to win all three legs – a legacy starting with Sir Barton in 1919 and ending (for now) with American Pharoah in 2015.
The 37-year gap between Affirmed’s Triple Crown in 1978 and American Pharoah’s was the longest drought in event history and illustrates how difficult it is to win three demanding races in three different states against top competition in a six-week span. Winning a Triple Crown is so difficult that between 1979 and 2014, there were 13 horses that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but either failed to win the Belmont or did not make the starting gate.
Of those 13 horses, which included the talented likes of Spectacular Bid (1979), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Funny Cide (2003) and California Chrome (2014), Real Quiet in 1998 came the closest, losing the 1 ½-mile Belmont (the longest race in American thoroughbred racing) by a nose in a photo finish to the aptly named Victory Gallop.
This also explains why the list of Triple Crown winners is a veritable Who’s Who of thoroughbred royalty: Sir Barton, Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), the incomparable Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed and American Pharoah. By the very feat of them being on this elite list, those 12 horses illustrate the reason winning a Triple Crown is considered one of the toughest feats in all sports to accomplish.
One reason for that is the penchant for owners to sit their horses out of the Kentucky Derby and/or the Preakness and run them “fresh” in the Belmont. From 2006-2014, the Belmont winner was a horse that skipped the Preakness, which is contested three weeks earlier. And when American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont to complete the Triple Crown, he was the first horse to win the third leg of the Triple Crown after competing in all three races since Afleet Alex turned the trick 10 years earlier.
Nobody said making history is easy and winning a Triple Crown certainly comes with a high degree of difficulty. But there are few better places to spend a Saturday watching it unfold than the Pechanga OTB.
Pechanga OTB is open Wednesday through Monday at 10 a.m., with live simulcasts from America’s best racetracks featured on 22 flat-screens and on individual monitors at several of the 72 comfortable seats. For more information on the numerous promotions, please see www.pechanga.com.