What lies ahead is equally tantalizing. Because of three bobs—Lewis, Baffert and the one by his head at the wire—Silver Charm now has earned a shot at becoming the 12th horse in history to attain the sport's Holy Grail, the Triple Crown. Racing hasn't had a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, and it hasn't had a horse even go to the post at the Belmont with a chance since Sunday Silence eight years ago.
At a mile and a half, the Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown races, which might be Captain Bodgit's cup of tea. His power-into-the-stretch style appears well suited for the track's wide, sweeping turns, but if he falls too far behind he may find catching up impossible. The Belmont is often won by a front-runner (such as Free House) or by a colt tractable enough to stay close to the pace, waiting patiently for his chance. That would be Silver Charm.
As the last sunlight faded at Pimlico, McCaffery sought out and congratulated Baffert and the Lewises. Hugs, kisses and tears were exchanged. As McCaffery walked away, Baffert wheeled around, his trademark cockiness gone, his voice quivering. "Now, that," he said, "is what this game is all about."