It’s Belmont Day! The last jewel of this year’s Triple Crown is rather unusual in that none of the expected favorites are racing: Always Dreaming (the Kentucky Derby winner), Cloud Computing (the Preakness winner), and even Classic Empire are all not in the field today. The field is wide open!
We think the horses to watch today are Irish War Cry and Tapwrit. Irish War Cry is up-and-down, but he is due for a good run and has a good post position. Tapwrit is also looking strong, although he will be starting from post 2. If we had to choose, we would probably pick Irish War Cry as the more likely winner today. But, Mom has a soft spot for grays, so my new gray friend and I will be rooting for Tapwrit!
Well that was more exciting that I thought it was going to be! I’m so happy for Patch, finishing 3rd. Feel a little bad for the guy who lost his irons! *edit!* Hollywood Handsome and his jockey - Florent Geroux(???) Staying in the saddle must have been… challenging. I didn’t have Tapwrit on my scope - - - oh well. This was a good race!
In 2002, I watched the Kentucky Derby for the first time and fell in love with a lean, mean, jet-black horse. Trained by Bob Baffert and with Victor Espinoza on his back, War Emblem swept the first two jewels of the Triple Crown like his feet were on fire. I was so invested in him that it hurt. After he lost the Belmont, my dad found me curled up under a blanket, sobbing that I would “never see a Triple Crown winner.”
Thirteen years and countless heartbreaks later, a strong, kind, transcendent animal, raw bay but for a kiss of white on his forehead, labored to win the Derby despite a long layoff and two preps. Trained by Bob Baffert and with Victor Espinoza on his back, this horse ran through the Triple Crown like he couldn’t believe it was his job, littering track after track with a circuit of perfect hoof prints. His first head-to-head challenge and a torrential downpour couldn’t stop him. And today, with ears forward and in some the fastest final fractions in Belmont history, he devoured the race that claimed thirteen challengers before him.
The 12th Triple Crown winner is named American Pharoah, and he is beautiful. He is perfect.
I am happy. I am happy for the horse, I am happy for me, I am happy for the fans, I am happy for the connections. I am happy for my sport, a sport that does not often truly get to be happy. Today is our day. Yes, yes, yes.