Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope, Luke Skywalker finds out who he is, blows up the Death Star.

Star Wars, Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo frozen, Luke loses a hand, Darth Vader owns up to his paternity and foils the Rebel’s chance at the Triple Crown.

Star Wars, Episode VI, The Return of the Jedi, Luke comes into his own, fails to cede his soul to the Dark Side, Vader redeems himself by throwing the Emperor down, down, down.

Things are just better in threes. Trust me, I went to college.
Trilogies, the ultimate three-act play, are the construct for the best drama. First act sets up characters, ends on a high note. The second act puts our protagonist in a compromising position begging the question: How will he get out of THIS jam? Act Three pits good and evil against one another one last time.

The Kentucky Derby gave us a new hero in Super Saver (Super Light Saber?). Well, when Super Saver Struck Back there was no amount of Viagra to spring him back to life. Stablemate Devil May Care said, “I love you.” To which Super Saver was quoted as saying, “I know,” this before being frozen and sent to Pletcher the Hut.

The Third Act can make or break the season. The Matrix Trilogy told us, if anything, that the first movie was head and shoulders the best. Reminds me a lot of the 2006 Triple Crown season. Derby (Barbaro, great first movie). Preakness (Paging, Dr. Richardson). Jazil (Bravo! Neo is Jesus. Nice sunset, by the way.)

Spider Man! He’s always been my favorite hero, he wins by a nose over Batman. Here’s a case where the first movie was decent, followed by a killer second movie, with a third that lost its identity with too many villains and too much hubris. How do you waste a villain like Venom on Topher Grace by sharing the stage with Lowell from Wings? This was one of the all-time worst casting disasters right up there with George Clooney as Batman and Scarlett Johansson as a bad-ass-in-a-push-up-bra in Ironman 2.

The Spiderman Trilogy is a lot like the 2009 Triple Crown season. The underdog comes through the mud in Act One, and he’s a gelding! Horse racing has a new hero who can’t possibly be ushered off to the breeding shed. At least he’s gone on to win more races since then ... hmmm ...

Spider Man 2 is when Mary Jane finds out that Peter Parker is Spider Man. Great, great movie. One of my all-time favorite scenes. Reminds me of the 2009 Preakness with Rachel Alexandra fending off the Little Gelding That Could.

Naturally the 2009 Belmont was somewhat uninspiring with Tim Ice’s former prodigy Summer Bird sweeping past Dunkirk and Mine That Bird to win the Belmont. (Perhaps I’m bitter because I had written down my picks for the Pick 3 ending on the Belmont without placing the bet. For $1 it paid close to $1,200.)



With the Third Act just a week away, what are we to expect? If you love Return of the Jedi, you’re likely to forget about Endor and the Ewoks. If you hated Return of the Jedi, you’re likely to flog George Lucas for Ewoks, Endor, and not enough Princess Leia in her slave bikini.

The casting call for the Return of the Belmont this year would start with Dale Romans as Luke Skywalker. Let’s get him a black robe.

In this instance, with two horses and the likely favorite, Nick Zito has to be the villain with Ice Box, who just whipped through a half-mile at the Oklahoma Training Track in 46.65, and Fly Down.

“He finished with good energy,” said Zito of Ice Box, “and he looked good doing it. That’s the main thing. Sometimes you got to have a little zip in him, even if he’s going a mile and a half. This is the exact workout he had coming into the Kentucky Derby. Hopefully, everything goes good.”

Make Music for Me trainer, Alexis Barba, will play Leia. Fortunately for Barba, she missed kissing her brother in the first act since she wasn’t adequately cast. Romans and Barba? Spinoff television series.

Let’s give Han Solo to Kiaran McLaughlin. Uptowncharlybrown can be Chewbacca.

There was the Bourne Trilogy, Austin Powers, and others. The third leg is rarely the strongest no matter how powerful the story. Matrix Revolutions? The Bourne Ultimatum? Goldmember? Revenge of the Sith? Godfather III?

The precedent for a solid third leg is weak. Will we get Ewoks or Lando Calrissian blasting out of an exploding Death Star? Can there be a harmonious end with the ghosts of Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Anikin Skywalker laughing at the final barbeque?

The last time we saw anything of the kind was a long time ago at a racetrack far, far away.

Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project “Six Weeks in Saratoga” at The Blog Itself. His Web site is