Of the 11 horses that have gone into the Belmont with a crack at the Triple Crown but have failed to deliver, Spectacular Bid was the most singularly impressive. Others, of course — Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm — ultimately joined the dark gray colt in the Hall of Fame in Saratoga, but few horses in history were ever so dominant throughout their careers, and even fewer had a more legitimate excuse for letting a major stakes race victory slip away. (Spectacular Bid had a minor infection in one hoof on Belmont day after somehow stepping on a safety pin.) In the Belmont, 18-year-old jockey Ron Franklin took Spectacular Bid out very fast — a move that, after the horse’s near-thrashing of its opponents in both the Derby and Preakness might have seemed reasonable if the race wasn’t a far more grueling proposition than the previous legs of the Crown. Only a handful of Belmont winners have triumphed going wire-to-wire in the mile-and-a-half “Test of the Champion,” and even a powerful runner like Spectacular Bid, racing on a tender hoof, wasn’t up to the challenge. After he showed (behind two horses he had beaten previously), Franklin was replaced by veteran Willie Shoemaker, who rode him to victory in many more graded stakes races before Bid retired the following year as America’s champion older male horse.