Finally, a Pharoah (sp) wins it all

It beats me if I ever saw a Triple Crown winner before American Pharoah’s lightning win on Saturday at the Belmont. Oh, I was around in 1977 and 1978 when Seattle Slew and Affirmed won in the last two of the three stations each of American Thoroughbred Racing. Likewise, I have seen Steve Cauthen many times, mostly on television appearances. Cauthen had, while riding Affirmed at 18, been the youngest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Victor Espinoza in Saturday’s race was the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown at age 43.

Even though I usually watch the Kentucky Derby each year I hardly watch the Preakness or Belmont unless a Triple Crown winner is possible. I did gain a great appreciation for racing when I worked as a beer and food vendor at a training track one year in the 80s.

The horses I watched might enter some of the lower-money races across the track but none that I knew of ever went on to greater heights.  See more below …

American Pharoah in the Winners Circle upon his victory in the Preakness. Photo: MarylandGov pictures.
American Pharoah in the Winners Circle upon his victory in the Preakness. Photo: MarylandGov.

I have only “played” the horses once. That was at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, which straddles Dallas and Tarrant counties of Dallas-For Worth fame. That foray to the track was, oddly enough, a friend’s very young — less than 6 years old — niece. While she was too young to bet, most of the adults did some betting and listened to a band play. It’s a pretty good way to spend an afternoon. I have wanted to take a trip to Delta Downs which is only, for me, a quick 35 minutes away in Vinton, La.

Many times in my teens did I go to Vinton for nightclubs that easily let in those 18 and most often those who were several years longer. The race track had been around then. It’s still there even though the location has become known probably more for its slot machines and off track betting than for its racing.

Horse racing is a sport unlike most others and not just because the horses are ridden by tiny men and women. Horses, those of more noble breeding, are wily and beautiful. My throat felt as if it would go through my head as I saw American Pharoah make its way ahead of the pack and finally ran until one wondered if the horses behind could even see the winner as it crossed the finish.

What a beauty. What a beautiful race. What a beautiful being. I doubt many will care if its name is misspelled.

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