Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: Triple Crown Memories

I was much more a horse racing fan in 1978.

I was 12 years old and fascinated by the Black Stallion. In the story, young Alec Ramsey befriends and tames a wild Arabian stallion on a desert island after the two are the lone survivors of a shipwreck. Eventually they’re rescued and Alec returns home to America bringing the Black with him. Teaming up with retired racehorse trainer Henry Dailey, and with the calming influence of an old vegetable-cart horse named Napoleon, Alec succeeds in transforming the Black’s wild passion into speed on the race track.

Photo 1: A scene from the Black Stallion movie –https://michaelpippa.wordpress.com/tag/mickey-rooney/

I also lived next door, literally, to the county horse track in Richfield. My love for horse racing, created by the Black Stallion, was magnified as I roamed and explored the stables and dirt track. I loved horses and dreamed of being a jockey. Come summer time I would sneak into the races and watch the quarter horses pound the dirt track. Alec’s dream of racing horses became my dream. When the track was empty I’d explore my dreams, making the walk from the stables to starting gate as if it was me on the Black. Sometimes I’d run on the dirt track imagining what it would feel like riding the Black as he conquered the champions Sun Raider and Cyclone in a match race billed as “the race of the century.”

All those memories came rushing back Saturday as I watched American Pharoah run the Belmont Stakes in a quest to win the elusive Triple Crown. I’m old enough to remember the last Triple Crown winner. That was Affirmed in 1978. I also remember the talk about Seattle Slew winning it the year before. But of the great Secretariat’s win in 1973 I only have memories created in the present day.

I watch again Secretariat’s Belmont run Saturday morning before the big event of the day. I had forgotten just what a powerful horse “Big Red” was, winning by 31 lengths and setting a Belmont record that still stands today.

Photo 2: Secretariat’s jockey at the Belmont Stakes in 1973 –http://www.sportsnet.ca/magazine/long-way-back/

Secretariat ended a 25 year Triple Crown drought followed relatively quickly by two more winners with Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Now American Pharoah has erased a 37 year drought. How long before we have another horse accomplished such a feat?

Maybe I still am a horse racing fan.

Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share!

p.s. Take 15 minutes today to remember the American Pharoah’s and Secretariat’sTriple Crown achievements.



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