Every year, on the first Saturday in June, horse lovers and racing aficionados gather for the Run for the Roses. The first jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, this event is always exciting.
There have only been Triple Crown winners in my lifetime: Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and American Pharoah (that’s not a typo in his name). What happens in the Kentucky Derby can set people’s rooting habits for the rest of the series as we always hope to see another great.
Long-time readers of this blog know that I used to be an equestrian athlete myself, and some of you read about my reunion with my beloved Maisey. I always watch racing through the eyes of a horse lover, and pray the same thing: today, let them all come home safe. Because I’ve watched two of the biggest tragedies in my lifetime of loving horses happen, too: the life-ending injuries of Ruffian and Barbaro.
Today, I am rooting for Patch, the one-eyed horse who will be in the 20 slot. He’s one of only four half-blind horses to ever run in the Derby. He’s got a lot of heart; he has to, to have qualified for the Derby. Plus, his sire is Union Rags, a previous Derby winner; he’s got the bloodline.
I’ve been lucky enough to stand next to and, in some cases, feed, pet and be photographed with some of racing’s greats, like Ogygian, Skip Away, Bull Inthe Heather, John Henry, Cigar, and Tiznow, the latter of whom was so enamored of my husband that he insisted on getting my husband to play with him. I co-owned I Two Step Too, whose barn name was Deuce. His name may not be familiar to you, but his face surely is: he was Seabiscuit in the eponymous film.
This song is for all of the horses I’ve known and loved. Today, let them all come home safe.