Is this finally the year?

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Is this finally the year?

By John Eisenberg
CSNwashington.com

OK, quick quiz: Who resided in the White House the last time a horse won racings Triple Crown?

Hint: You have to go back father than you think.

The correct answer is Jimmy Carter, who was president when Affirmed captured the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1978.

Its been 34 years since racing witnessed a Triple Crown winner, and after capturing the Preakness with a dramatic stretch run Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, Ill Have Another will get a chance to break the drought in the Belmont early next month.

We're thinking Triple Crown, baby, said Doug O'Neill, who trains Ill Have Another. He's a special horse. We'll see how he comes out of (the Preakness), and if he comes out of it in good shape, we're heading to New York, baby.

The chances of him not taking a shot in New York are virtually nil. The entire sport of horse racing wants to see him make history and generate some headlines.

Even the trainers and jockeys who lost to Ill Have Another Saturday were excited to see him win.

It was an amazing race. Good to see a Triple Crown on the line. Thats good for the sport, said trainer Dale Romans, whose horse, Cozzetti, finished seventh Saturday.

Im happy for the winner and a chance for the Triple Crown, said trainer Ignacio Correas, whose horse, Tiger Walk, finished eighth.

Since Affirmed won in 1978, 10 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and taken a run at the Triple Crown in the Belmont. Theyve all fallen short, in a variety of fashions. Spectacular Bid stepped on a pin in his stall and didnt run his usual race in 1979. Silver Charm lost at the wire in 1997. Smarty Jones ran out of gas down the stretch in 2004. Big Brown appeared ed utterly disinterested in 2008.

Now its Ill Have Anothers turn.

The buildup will be New York-style big, and several serious challengers will likely be lying in wait for him, led by Dullahan, the horse that finished third in the Derby and skipped the Preakness. Union Rags, another talented horse that ran seventh in the Derby but had bad luck during the race, is also expected to enter.

There are a lot of horses that have been in this position in the last 15 years, and it didnt happen for them, said J. Paul raddam, who owns Ill Have Another. So were only two-thirds there, right? So weve got to be cool, and try to block everything out. When we get to the Belmont, just ride the race, and if it happens, it happens.

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Allen is saying the Redskins want to keep Cousins but what is he doing?

Allen is saying the Redskins want to keep Cousins but what is he doing?

Redskins president Bruce Allen said that the organization doesn’t want to trade Kirk Cousins even though they don’t appear to want to do what it takes to keep him around in the long term.

Despite all the media buzz surrounding a potential Redskins trade of Cousins in 2017, Allen says that the team has firm plans to have Cousins behind center in Week 1.

“That’s why we franchised him,” Allen told CSN on Sunday at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona.

What about all the trade talk in the media?

"We haven't talked to anyone [about a trade]," he said.

So it sounds like you can take a Sharpie and put Cousins as the starting QB. Or maybe not.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

The period of time from around mid-February until the end of the draft is known around the league as the lying season. The words uttered by the people in Allen’s position are not always put out there in the interest of disseminating the truth. In fact, what is said by NFL executives and coaches is more often about subterfuge and trying to gain leverage than about painting an accurate picture.

The fact remains that trading Cousins could be the smart thing for the Redskins to do if they don’t believe they will be able to come to a long-term contract agreement with their quarterback. They would run a very real risk of losing him as a free agent in 2018 with the only compensation being a 2019 third-round compensatory draft pick.

According to Allen, the organization wants to get Cousins to sign a long-term contract.

“Our goal from the beginning was to sign him long term, July 15 is the league wide deadline to get that done so I’m hopeful and confident we’ll do it,” said Allen.

MORE REDSKINS: Need to Know: Year 3 huge for Preston Smith

It remains to be seen if the Redskins are going to put forth a contract offer that would make sense for the Cousins camp to consider. Cousins will make nearly $24 million fully guaranteed this year on the franchise tag and the Redskins would have to offer him about $28 million guaranteed on the transition tag to prevent him from becoming a free agent next year. Working off that, the Redskins’ offer needs to come up with around $52 million fully guaranteed in the first two years. In early March the team was reported to be offering around $20 million per year with unspecified guarantees. There is Grand Canyon of a gap between that offer and the reality of what it would take to get a deal done.

So the Redskins’ end game remains unclear. Allen says Cousins will be behind center in 2017 even though a trade might make more sense. The team president says he wants to get Cousins signed to a long-term deal but there hasn’t been a report of a contract offer that would even come close to getting that done.

The adage to keep in mind here is that you should not listen to what they say but watch what they do. Allen could be telling it like it is but the situation still bears watching.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Morning tip: Pressure lightens for Wizards' starting 5 to be great every time

Morning tip: Pressure lightens for Wizards' starting 5 to be great every time

LOS ANGELES -- During their previous five-game road trip, the Wizards were able to pull out four heart-stopping victories with two of them comebacks in overtime. That was two weeks go, and they've begun this one by upsetting the Clevlend Cavaliers on their home floor.

What set up that 127-115 win Saturday was what took place Friday in the first game of a back-to-back. They routed the Brooklyn Nets 129-108 in a game in which they never were threatened. No starter played more than 24 minutes. That made it easier for the reerves to step in.

"We really locked in, did our job, got the guys some extra minutes rest and it paid off," coach Scott Brooks said. 

This is how elite teams are able to develop their benches heading into the postseason. The Wizards (45-28) didn't have thier leading bench scorer, Bojan Bogdanovic, vs. Cleveland because of lower back stiffness the following night but that was OK.

Second-year forward Kelly Oubre filled that void by shooting 7 of 8 for 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Jason Smith continued to show three-point range and an ability to switch onto perimeter players. His play gives Brooks options in the middle behind Marcin Gortat. He can go to Smith or starter Markieff Morris with his smaller lineups or Ian Mahinmi who is a traditional big.

They Wizards have been able to win with Gortat, Morris and even Otto Porter not producing the type of offense now that they posted before the All-Star break. More than any other team in the NBA, all starting five for the Wizards have posted more double-digit scoring games than any other in the NBA. Gortat has stuggled the most and has seen his minutes reduced significantly.

"You don’t need everybody to play at a high level offensively. They just have to play at a high level energy and commitment, focusing on doing the things to help the team win. It’s not about  minutes," Brooks said. "I keep telling all of our guys, 'If you want minutes, you just play well. You get extra minutes. And if you play we’ll you’re still going to get some sub time.'

"We have a good bench and we’re going to use it. Ian has done a great job. Jason has done a good job. It’s not what March has done. He hasn’t played well but our guys have stepped up and played well but he’s going to bounce back."

The Wizards scored 40 points in the first quarter in Cleveland. John Wall set the tone by pushing the tempo even when they didn't have numbers in transition and still got uncontested layups.

Tuesday, it's a game at the L.A. Lakers in the first game of a back-to-back. They should put them away early, too.