The longest wait in sports is not over.
California Chrome's bid to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 fell short in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
After winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes by a length and a half, the mile-and-a-half Belmont proved to be too much for Chrome, who finished fourth to winner Tonalist.
And with that, the longest drought in Triple Crown history continues.
Since Affirmed's sweep 36 years ago, 13 horses now have gone to Belmont Park with the Derby and Preakness in hand only to falter somehow, some way. Real Quiet was nipped at the wire in 1998; War Emblem stumbled out of the gate in 2002; Smarty Jones faltered down the stretch in '04; and I'll Have Another was scratched with an injury the day before the race in '12.
Now add Chrome's fade down the stretch to the list.
The loss brought out a bitter reaction from Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, who was upset by the fact that the winner of the Belmont once again did not race all three legs of the Triple Crown.
LOS ANGELES – The moment was there to crush the Chicago Blackhawks along with their quest to solidify themselves as hockey's newest dynasty.
Oh that word can be thrown around too often, but three Stanley Cups in five years would, at the very least, make for a compelling conversation. But to win the third they still have to get by the Los Angeles Kings, their equal in these playoffs, and Friday night the Kings had the defending champs on the ropes in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
The scoreboard showed the Kings up 3-2 with under nine minutes to play, and really all the momentum was in their favor. They'd scored twice in the third to retake the lead, sending the sellout crowd into a tizzy and Dustin Brown on a mission to drill anyone in his way.
The Kings could taste the Stanley Cup Final, where the New York Rangers await, while the Blackhawks, well, time was simply running out on them.
Lose and it's the Kings moving on, to play for their second Cup in three years. The dynasty talk would be over, at least in Chicago.
And so yes, the weight of the moment was there to crush them, except that Patrick Kane wouldn't let it.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – With the clock winding down on the Anaheim Ducks' season and, by extension, Teemu Selanne's career, Bruce Boudreau walked over to the future Hall of Famer and told him to hit the ice for the game's final shift.
With about a minute to go, No. 8 climbed over the boards and, as he did, the crowd came to its feet.
"Let's go Teemu!" they sang in unison. "Let's go Teemu!"
It was one of those goose-bump inducing moments, made even more so when scanning the crowd to see who was doing the singing: Ducks and Los Angeles Kings fans.
Oh, the outcome had long since been decided, the Kings putting it to the Ducks on Anaheim's home ice, blitzing them with a three-goal onslaught in the first period en route to a 6-2 victory. Still, visiting fans paying tribute to a hometown player during Game 7 of a playoff series is, well, reserved for someone special.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Forty seconds into this decisive Game 7, the Los Angeles Kings had already peppered a pair of point-blank shots on Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson.
He saved both.
The same can't be said about three of the next 14 shots he faced in the first period, or the second one fired at him in the second. Those goals helped lead to a 6-2 rout that sent both teams packing – Anaheim for summer vacation, the Kings for a trip to Chicago where they'll face the Blackhawks in the Western Conference final.
This was an anticlimatic ending to what had been an excellent series. To this point, four of the six games were decided by a single goal, the others by two, and both teams were even on the scoreboard at 13 goals apiece.
Having staved off elimination in Game 6, the Kings ventured 30 miles south and made themselves right at home, scoring three times in the first 15 minutes. By the time Mike Richards knocked home a rebound with under five minutes to play in the opening period, the fired-up away crowd was chanting, "This is our house." And who could argue with them?
Sixteen to six, the shot total read at the end of one.
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles will forever be the Lakers' town, but that doesn't mean expectations for the Kings are any lower. Not anymore, anyway.
Things changed two years ago when Dustin Brown hoisted the Stanley Cup toward the Staples Center rafters, where 16 yellow-and-purple championship banners hung. Soon a black-and-silver one would join them, the long-suffering franchise's first.
And with that one came a new expectation: Stanley Cup or bust.
No longer was a berth in the playoffs a consolation, not with a core that includes one of the game's best centers (Anze Kopitar), best defensemen (Drew Doughty) and best goaltenders (Jonathan Quick).
That the Kings won it all in 2012 was surprising only in that they did it as an eighth seed. Their talent was better than that, and it finally showed. And when it did, well, it was clear: the team was built to win, and not just once.
So here they are again, on the cusp of moving on or going home – a lame consolation prize that will end up in the circular file or a shot to dethrone the defending champs.
- Jay Hart at Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
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The favorite who was also the longshot won the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.
California Chrome may have been the 2-1 favorite entering Saturday's Run for the Roses, but his appearance at Churchill Downs was nothing if not a minor miracle. He's no Kentucky blue blood, born to an $8,000 dam; is trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, who never before trained a Derby horse; had never raced outside of his home state of California; and is owned by a couple of guys who call their stable Dumb Ass Partners.
And yet he won the Kentucky Derby going away, sprinting away from the field down the stretch, winning in a time of 2:03.66.
Commanding Curve was second. Danza was third.
Chrome, with its reputation as a speed horse, was the heavy favorite entering the race, with Wicked Strong (6-1), Danza (8-1) – yes, named after actor Tony Danza – and Intense Holiday (8-1) garnering attention, too. None presented Chrome with any sort of challenge.
The biggest question mark regarding the favorite heading to post time: How would he break from the gate?
Hyperbole stinks. This is not hyperbole: The 2014 NCAA tournament has produced the most unlikely final since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The result: millions upon millions of busted brackets.
Consider this: Of the millions who filled out brackets on Yahoo Sports, only 486 picked the correct final – 7th-seeded UConn vs. 8th-seeded Kentucky (a 74-73 winner over Wisconsin). Since 1985, at least a No. 1, 2 or 3 seed has been in every single final. Before this year, the highest combined total of seeds in a final was 11 in 2011: UConn (3) vs. Butler (8).
And when the champion is crowned Monday night, no more than 0.7 percent of Yahoo Sports users will have picked the correct winner.
Try these stats on for size:
To make the final …
• 66,196 picked Kentucky – or 1.4 percent of all entries.
• 14,053 picked UConn – or 0.3 percent of all entries.
To win the tournament:
• 31,655 picked Kentucky – or 0.7 percent of all entries.
• 7,602 picked UConn – or 0.2 percent of all entries.
A day after emerging as the one person in America with a perfect bracket through two rounds of the NCAA tournament, Brad Binder became a pseudo-celebrity across social media.
He gained thousands of new followers on Twitter, received invites to appear on network television and was asked his advice on "the secrets of life."
And who wouldn't want his advice? Millions filled out brackets and entered challenges – on Yahoo Sports, on ESPN, on CBS Sports – but only Binder's entry in Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick'em went 32-for-32 through the round of 64. (His bracket was not entered in the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.)
"It's crazy!" he told Yahoo Sports late Friday night. "Still can't believe it!"
The 15 minutes of fame for the 23-year-old from Buffalo Grove, Ill., continued Saturday as his perfect bracket rolled on.
Florida won. 33 for 33.
Louisville won. 34 for 34.
Michigan won. 35 for 35.
San Diego State? Yeah, it won, too. 36 for 36.
And then there was one.
Yes, after 32 "second-round" games (we put that in quotes because really it's Round 1) in this year's NCAA tournament – and one more starting Saturday's action – a perfect bracket does remain.
Congratulations Brad Binder of "Brad's Breathtaking Bracket," your bracket really is breathtaking. You picked Mercer over Duke. You picked Dayton over Ohio State. And you got lucky as hell when VCU bailed out Stephen F. Austin with a four-point play in the closing seconds of regulation and wound up losing in overtime.
You picked all 32 games correctly on Thursday and Friday, kept rolling on Saturday, going 4-for-4 so far, and for that, we commend you.
Binder, 23, told Yahoo Sports that "I did all my picks in under five minutes."
He picked Mercer because "Duke was soft all year and they live and die by the 3 ball. Mercer has that chemistry."
- Jay Hart at From The Marbles7 mths ago
Two days before Jimmie Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup championship, Donovan McNabb went where many have gone before:
"He sits in a car and he drives, that doesn't take being athletic,'' the former quarterback said on Fox Sports One. "What athletically is he doing?"
Wednesday, Kevin Harvick, who finished third in this year's Sprint Cup standings, responded on Twitter this way:
— Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) November 20, 2013
Oh, snap! In case you need a refresher course, McNabb allegedly lost his lunch in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIX, something Harvick clearly hasn't forgotten.
Guarantee you Eagles fans don't find it funny. Still.