Larry Jones, the colorful cowboy trainer with a never say die attitude is the most pleasant surprise of the Triple Crown series. A man, graceful in defeat, willing to air his hopes and dreams in public, he is an everyman, a magnet for the press and a relief from the endless coverage of Todd's miscalculations. Jones along with the emerging Curlin/Street Sense rivalry is just what the sport needs.
That being said, I can’t see Jones' rationale for bringing Hard Spun to the Belmont; it's unlikely he could win, even by attrition if Street Sense and Curlin pass. It's obvious to me and everyone else that Hard Spun is best at nine furlongs or less. After all there are some very rich races out there tailor made for Hard Spun, like the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Derbies.
As for Street Sense and Curlin, their emerging rivalry is good for the sport and I hope both camps keep that in mind and don't go into "Breeders Cup Syndrome" spending the balance of the year strategically avoiding each other; targeting big races in the fall and hoping to gain some intangible advantage. The diminishing value of the Belmont Stakes, evidenced by Carl Nafzger's "What's the point" statement is proof that the Triple Crown has more problems than just finding a horse who can win it. Why run for a million in June and risk not having a horse ready to run for five million in October. Sounds like a good reason to have a substantial bonus for winning the Triple Crown and a lesser bonus in place for winning two of the three legs. Money talks and bullshit walks and if the Triple Crown is the ultimate achievement in the sport than winning two thirds of the crown should still be worth more then a win in the Breeders Cup.