VERONA, Ky. (AP) — Steve Cauthen didn't expect a nearly 36-year drought since he won the Triple Crown with Affirmed in 1978.

The 11 failed attempts since then remind the former jockey of the difficulty in winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in five weeks.

California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza aim to become the 12th Triple Crown winners in Saturday's Belmont.

Cauthen fondly recalls being an 18-year-old atop Affirmed and facing a duel with rival Alydar, who finished second in each race.

He says it was a great rivalry, and no one could afford a mistake. But he said he's ready to welcome another winner to the club after his achievement hasn't been matched for a generation.


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