Word got around in the Bet Twice camp. Levy's octogenarian mother, Blanche (a co-owner along with several minor owners, including baseball's Pete Rose and Garry Maddox), could not attend the race because of illness, but she sent $30 with her chauffeur to be wagered across the board on the colt, her first bet of this Triple Crown series.
On Saturday, Perret and Bet Twice made Blanche look the prophet as they came flying at the half-mile pole going into the far turn. On the bend, McCarron, on Alysheba, got caught behind a tiring Gone West and had to check his colt sharply, an incident that probably cost him second place and the $1 million bonus. To his credit, the rider later blamed himself for being way back there in the first place, admitting he should have been more closely tracking the leisurely pace.
"I think I got the colt disinterested in the race by getting him that far back," McCarron said. "He wanted to run all the way around the first turn, and I was preventing him from doing so. That probably discouraged him, and he kind of quit running on me most of the way down the backside. When I gave him a little cluck and chirp leaving the five-eighths pole, the response wasn't there. Down the stretch he never really kicked in at all."
McCarron had handled the colt intelligently in his last two races, but in the most important event of the colt's life, the jockey let the race get away from him. "I'm going to do my best to keep it from affecting how I perform," a disconsolate McCarron said. "But this race is going to go over and over in my head many times, just as the Derby and Preakness have, and there will be a whole different light on this one."
The race certainly left Stephens scratching his head, trying to figure out why Gone West had tired to sixth after the slow first mile in 1:38[2/5]. "I can't see him losing the lead after that mile," he said. "He worked a mile faster than that not long ago."
The victory even left Bet Twice followers puzzled. Alysheba had gone off as the odds-on 4-5 favorite, with Cryptoclearance second choice at 4-1 and Gone West the third choice at 5-1. At 8-1, a conspicuous overlay, Bet Twice paid $18 to win. "If the favorite was 4-5, we should have been 2-1," said Croll.
Regardless of prices, the Triple Crown was lost and the $3.5 million with it. "Down the tube," Van Berg said. "But I ain't gonna jump off a building. You're disappointed but you can't cry. This is a sport, and you gotta be a sport about it."
The thought of winning the bonus had never even occurred to Levy. "I didn't think we could beat Alysheba," he admitted. "The bonus never entered my mind. At all." That the colt avenged two defeats made the victory all the sweeter. On his way down to the circle, Levy turned to a companion and said, fiercely, "He crushed 'em!"
At the champagne party that followed, Levy was still happily savoring the details of Perret's ride, which had been executed precisely according to those few words of advice. When Perret appeared, Levy said to him excitedly, "When you blew by them today, you didn't wait."
"Those were my orders, weren't they?" said Perret. "I was going to blame you if I got beat."