Why would I even care? I've never been to a horse race. My experience with horses is mostly limited to books - the Black Stallion series when I was young, the Dick Francis mysteries as an adult - and movies, a favorite being Sea Biscuit.
(I did take a handful of riding lessons, when I was working in Pittsburgh. We even did some jumping, which resulted in a spectacular fall (and subsequent black eye), when my horse jumped the second hurdle before I was quite ready...)
But my mother was from Kentucky ("where they have fast women and beautiful horses"), and used to talk about the Kentucky Derby. Through osmosis, perhaps, this event became important to me.
I don't know if my mother ever even attended the Derby, but we used to watch it on TV - or at least the most important two minutes! One year, the network we were watching put together a video of horses, accompanied by Dan Fogelberg's Run for the Roses. This is a similar clip, and does as good a job as anything at capturing the the beauty and magnificence of the horses, along with a nostalgia and longing for something I've never even experienced.
I still try, every May, to watch the Kentucky Derby on TV - not all the hoopla that precedes it, just the race itself.
And then I pay attention to who wins the Preakness. If the Derby winner goes on to win the Preakness, then I start hoping for another Triple Crown winner. In my lifetime, there have been just three, all in the 70's - the wonderful Secretariat; Seattle Slew; and Affirmed, the most recent, back in 1978.
This year, I'll Have Another won the Derby, and then went on to win the Preakness. Jim and I were eating at a restaurant, and saw the clip on TV showing the results of the Preakness - the diners around us broke into excited cheering and clapping.
As the Belmont Stakes approached, he was favored to win, and I dared to hope. But - no. I'll Have Another was diagnosed with tendinitis, and was scratched from the Belmont Stakes. (Do check out that link; there's a wonderful photo of I'll Have Another.)
So: another year with no Triple Crown winner. Horses are beautiful, magnificent creatures. When they race, they are spectacular, and the horse that goes on to win the Triple Crown becomes legendary. It's been a long time between legends; maybe next year...
Meanwhile, I can celebrate a small accomplishment, for some small child in Afghanistan.
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