Was it poor health or poor jockeying? Regardless, Alysheba pulled into Belmont a fan favorite after winning – thanks to quiet yet commanding jockey Chris McCarron – a thrilling victory in Louisville that saw the horse clip the heels of rival Bet Twice down the stretch. Alysheba’s head was almost to the ground in what should have been a disastrous collision for the frontrunner, but after a miraculous recovery, Alysheba finished first by half a length. The scenario was nearly repeated at the Preakness, but the tables were turned when the two horses met at the Belmont Stakes. Alysheba came up short after being denied, per New York state law, his Lasix medication, an antibleeding drug that is known to improve performance. (The horse had won just one of nine starts when not taking the drug.) His Belmont loss was also blamed on a lackluster ride. McCarron misjudged the pace of the race, choosing to Alysheba back. When the horse got stuck in traffic, “he kind of quit running on me,” McCarron told Sports Illustrated. The loss was grave – fourth place and a 14-length defeat to his old rival Bet Twice.