Triple crown or not

Affirmed, 1978.

He’s the last Triple Crown winner, a fact mentioned in stories numerous times over the past 30 years.

Only Animal Kingdom has the power to relegate Affirmed to the history books this year. First, he has to win the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Saturday on NBC. Coverage starts at 4:30 p.m., and by 6:30 p.m. we should know if there’s still a chance at a Triple Crown in 2011.

Versus shows the fillies running the Black Eye Susan Stakes Friday.

Baseball has its first interleague weekend of the season, matching neighbors most of the time. FOX has Saturday night baseball, with Mets-Yankees as the main game. Other parts of the nation will see Oakland vs. San Francisco, or Rangers at Phillies and Cubs-Red Sox. (I said matching neighbors most of the time). ESPN shows Cubs-Red Sox Sunday night, while the Mets take on the Yankees Sunday afternoon on TBS.

Before they meet this weekend, the Orioles and Nationals have dates with New York teams Thursday. The Nationals face the Mets at 1 p.m. on MASN, and the Orioles host the Yankees at 7 p.m. The Mid-Atlantic rivals battle this weekend on both MASN and MASN2 from Camden Yards.

The NBA and NHL are halfway through their conference finals. Oklahoma City survived a seven-game series with Memphis, and takes on Dallas Thursday and Saturday on ESPN. The Eastern Conference final between Miami and Chicago has its Game 3 Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

On the ice, Tampa Bay hosts Boston Thursday at 8 p.m. on Versus and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on NBC. Out West, Vancouver visits San Jose for Game 3 Friday at 9 p.m. and NBC has Game 4 Sunday at 3 p.m.

It’s the warmup weekend for the big Memorial Day races. NASCAR has its’ all-star race from Charlotte Saturdayat 7 p.m. on Speed, while Versus shows Indianapolis 500 pole qualifying Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Nationwide racers are in Iowa, with ABC covering the event Sunday at 2 p.m.

Virginia advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament, and gets to face Cornell Saturday at noon on ESPN2. The winner meets either Johns Hopkins or Denver the next weekend in Baltimore.

The PGA tour visits Texas the next two weeks. This weekend, it’s the Colonial on CBS Saturday and Sunday starting at 3 p.m.

Clemson visits Florida State in ACC baseball Saturday at 1 p.m. on Comcast, and Florida Atlantic takes on Florida International from the Sun Belt Conference at 7 p.m.

In the MLS, Chivas USA faces the L.A. Galaxy Saturday at 10 p.m. on ESPN2.

Comcast offers Major League Lacrosse Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with Chesapeake visiting Hamilton.

The NCAA softball regionals begin this weekend. ESPN2 starts a bracket Friday at 5:30 p.m., then ESPN has coverage Friday at 8 p.m. There’s three games Saturday starting at noon and the possible bracket championship Sunday at 1 p.m.

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