Game Show Whiff On Triple Crown Winner Doesn’t Put Horse Racing In Jeopardy

by | 12.25.2018 | 12:41pm
Jeopardy contestants Jackie Fuchs, Carrie Blazina and Andrew Kung

The week before Christmas is a quiet time for horse racing, but thanks to the producers of the popular game show, “Jeopardy,” fans had something to talk about.

On the show that aired Dec. 20, all three contestants were stumped and unable to come up with the question in the Recent Events category that offered this answer: “Bob Baffert trained 2 recent Triple Crown-winning horses: American Pharoah in 2015 and this horse in 2018.”

There was some handwringing among some on social media over the fact three otherwise intelligent people were not clued in that Justify became horse racing's 13th Triple Crown winner, with suggestions that racing is somehow doomed or that the game's marketing people are not doing their jobs.

But where were those critics in October when a “Jeopardy” contestant correctly gave the right question to this (slightly wrong) answer in the Stupid Answers Across America category: “The horse racing bet where you pick the winners of the first six races is called this?” (What is the Pick 6)

Horse racing, in fact, has a long association with “Jeopardy,” going back to as recently as 2011 and long before that when Sport of Kings was in rotation as a regular category on the show. In fact, on the night before the Pick  6 question and answer, the Pieces of 8 category had this answer to a question: “Used in horse racing, 8 of these equal a mile.” (What is a furlong?) Erik Agard, a puzzlermaker from Gaithersburg, Md., got both the Pick 6 and furlong question right. Laurel Park is only a half-hour from Gaithersburg, so maybe Erik likes working on the ultimate puzzle: handicapping a horse race.

“Jeopardy” likes sprinkling horse racing's Triple Crown into various categories. Last year, in the In Baltimore category, Chicago librarian Gretchen Neidhardt  gave the correct response (Preakness) to this answer: “Pimlico Race Course hosts this Triple Crown race, named for a horse that won at the track in 1870.”

Maybe Gretchen spent some time in the library reading the Daily Racing Form.

Jockey Shorts was a one-and-done Double Jeopardy category in 2005 with the contestants acing all but one of the five questions. In the $2,000 clue, no one could name Red Pollard as the question to this answer: “Tobey Maguire played this 'colorful' jockey in 'Seabiscuit.'”

But getting back to Triple Crown winner Justify and the three contestants who whiffed, one of whom, then reigning champion Jackie Fuchs, is a Los Angeles attorney and writer who apparently didn't attend last year's Santa Anita Derby in nearby Arcadia. Jackie and her opponents didn't do very well in the Final Jeopardy category, either, The Works of Mozart.

None correctly wrote down the question to this answer: “Composed in 1791, the year he died, and last in the Kochel catalog of all his works, K. 626 is this work.”

The question, for all you Mozart experts, was easy: What was The Requiem?

“If you remember 'Amadeus,'” host Alex Trebek  reminded, “he was dying.”

For a moment, horse racing and classical music – two things that have endured for centuries – had something in common.


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