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We Are Flying Solo

June 6, 2015

Belmont Day: It’s Still A Small World!

In less than four hours (post parade at 6:40 pm Eastern Time, live stream from NBC here), Bob Baffert-trained colt, American Pharaoh will make his bid for the Triple Crown & Belmont Park’s last quarter-mile of track will once again ask if anyone can meet the challenge last conquered 37 years ago in Affirmed’s triumph (click for video).

Did I hear my name??
I don’t think I can NOT watch.

Fun Triple Crown History & Graphics:
Fab Infographics    |    Past Belmont Winners

Despite my ever-present worry for these young athletes, there is an uncanny series of connections between this afternoon’s grueling 1.5-mile thunder of hearts & hooves & the dappled liver chestnut I just hosed off after a short hill session.

American Pharaoh was sired by another Baffert-trained stallion, Pioneerof the Nile.  The latter made his own attempt at much-coveted garlands when he ran in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.  If it doesn’t immediately pop to mind, that was the year of 50-1 longshot, Mine That Bird’s incredible upset.

Under the guidance of legendary jockey, Calvin Borel (who also steals the show starring as himself in the film portrayal I JUST saw), that determined little gelding started dead last & ended up leaving the entire field of prestigious hopefuls in his wake on the way to collect his roses.

So why can’t I look away?

Some recent perusing of Equibase, made my eyes bug out (ok, it’s not that hard, but still…).  Encore’s own sire, Crowd Pleaser, was a 1995 PA-bred turf champion by AP Indy, winning his owners over $600,000 on the track.

And his last jockey in his final stakes wins (including the 2000 Sycamore Stakes, covering just over 1.5 miles on the beautiful grass of Keeneland Park, where he beat an Irish TB named Royal Strand who had set the track record just the year before)…was none other than Calvin Borel (who was finally inducted into the Hall of  Fame in 2013...I think winning over $125M earns him a spot!).

Click to embiggen
However, even if Pharaoh doesn't carry our historic connection across the wire first, breaking from #7 atop Curlin' son, Keen Ice, is Hall of Fame jockey, Kent Desormeaux, who rode Crowd Pleaser's dam, British mare Creaking Board in her last race in 1993, for yet another household racing name, trainer Bobby Frankel.

Regardless, just as I say in eventing:  may everyone keep the steel side down & run home safely!!

Will we see one?  Seattle Slew's 1977 Triple Crown trophy


  1. A lovely race and well deserved Triple Crown. :D!!

  2. Holy mother of all things unholy on toast. It has literally been a lifetime -- I was born early in 1979. I can't remember seeing a gallop that flowed like loose silk so easily -- he ran like a cheetah with all the confidence of Secretariat himself. And trotted arrogantly off at the end like he hadn't even broken a sweat.

    Deserved indeed. And if Baffert has learned anything about horses, he'll never run that horse again & syndicate as fast as his assistant can type, ha.

    He can send me a check later for my magic post juju which allowed his life's dream to be realized, LOL.

    Eventually I'll start breathing again; one look at his stride as soon as he settled in after the break at the turn and one glance at the other horses and I knew nothing could touch him. Thrilled for Espinoza after coming so close so many times! For now, I'm just going to envision that stride over and over and over...

    1. That stride is a thing of beauty. He controlled the race from a stride past the break and no one threatened him, even remotely. No question he earned the crown. :D

    2. I wanna ride that gallop so bad...

  3. Replies
    1. I don't even know what to call it! I actually felt bad for the other horses because he owned it with absolute certainty from the beginning. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it...

  4. This is the best day ever!! I've waited so long to see a Triple Crown winner! I'm so excited. Way to go American Pharoah!!!!!!

  5. UN-BE-LIEVABLE! Still can't grasp that it finally happened. Whatta horse! Unlike you this lady was alive for Red and Slew and Affirmed (and I saw Slew win in person)d. Never thought it would take this long for another... and had darn near given up hope.

    1. Ok, now I have mad envy that you got to see Slew win it!! :o I did get to meet Secretariat in the late 80's, though, & he still had that look in his eyes. AP made it such a cakewalk, I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around it -- just before the race, I'd watched the replay of Alydar pushing Affirmed all the way to the wire & I think Affirmed's only advantage was my epic hometown boy, Steve Cauthen! But damn, I would have loved to be Victor Espinoza for those two minutes -- what a flight!

  6. Indeed! I was just going to wait & watch it on YouTube afterwards, but wow, I'm so glad I decided to commit to the stream!