Saturday, June 27, 2015

Triple Crown!

And here is where begin to catch up on a bunch of things that would have been more interesting if I'd written about them as they were happening...

Watching American Pharoah win the Belmont to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 was a real "sports bucket list" item for me.  Even though there were three Crown winners in the 1970s, the decade when I rarely missed any of the races, I'd never managed to see the Belmont live in a Triple Crown winning year.  When Secretariat won in '73, I was on a beach in Ensenada, Baja California, on a YMCA caravan.  In '77 when Seattle Slew turned the trick, I was working at McDonalds. And the following year when Affirmed prevailed in the last of three stirring battles with Alydar, I was on my high school graduation trip in Hawaii, and for some reason we thought they were going to show the race on tape delay.  They weren't.

I saw enough of the Belmont failures in the intervening years to think that maybe I was the jinx, and through (briefly) about not even watching this time.  So it was a pleasant surprise to actually see this great horse finally do what so many before him had failed to do.  And I don't throw around "great" loosely; Pharoah's time in the Belmont was one of the best ever.  Not in Secretariat's league, of course, but there was a reason on that sunny day in June 1973 that Chic Anderson said "He is moving like a tremendous machine!"

It's doubtful that Pharoah's win means that we're on our way back to another golden age of thoroughbred racing, but it was a nice throwback nonetheless.

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