Sunday, June 7, 2009
The Preakness ran when I was in New York. Susan and I were on our way to Brooklyn, desperate to find a bar where we could watch the race. She phoned her son who suggested one, a place crammed with twenty year olds. It would have been really easy to leave, but somehow I braved asking the barmaid if she could turn the race on. Luckily a guy at the bar knew the right channel. Susan ordered cranberry and seltzer for us. And by the time we watched Calvin Borel win on the filly, Rachel Alexandra, the crowd was five deep behind us.
For some reason, I thought she would win, maybe because Borel had given up the ride on Mine That Bird, the horse he'd ridden to the win in the Derby. He came in second and, frankly, I imagine that that horse would have won had Borel been riding him.
I wish I could have watched the Belmont with Susan, but I watched it with Smith who doesn't know much about racing, but is a quick learn and laughs a lot. I didn't think that Mine That Bird would win. I don't know why. I would have bet on Charitable Man or Dunkirk, judging by what I read in the New York Times, but I had already been to the track and left long before the Belmont Stakes race. I hadn't noticed that Desormeaux was riding Summer Bird. He's a good jockey who won the Derby (last year?) with all the hoopla about the fact that his son will be blind by the time he's twenty and how important it was for the boy to see his father win this big race.
I like what little I know about Desormeaux, though Borel has a good back-story, also. (Back stories are crucial and none could be better than that of Mine That Bird!) I was sorry Borel and that horse lost. Borel's such a good winner, crying while he's riding to the winner's circle.
It was interesting that Desormeaux said that Borel was naive not to ride an earlier race at Belmont that day since he wasn't familiar with the track. Jockey's usually race a number of times in one day, as Desormeaux had. Anyway, two horses out of the sire, Birdstone, raced and Summer Bird won. Tim Ice has only been training for a year, another great story. And the owners, the Jayaramans, who have been breeding horses for thirty-one years are both doctors. And Desormeaux finally got a win at Belmont, another star in his crown when he gets into the Jockey Hall of Fame and helped with the conflict (which I don't even remember) over the fact that he lost on Big Brown last year.
I like watching the Triple Crown. It's interesting even if I forget all the information I've gathered in a day or two.