Finally! A Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, by Mae Clair

OMG! Am I the only one who was super-sonic ecstatic earlier tonight when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown? For those of you who don’t follow horse racing (and I only do from May through June each year), let me put it in perspective: There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont—the three “jewels” in the Triple Crown.

A lot of people look forward to the Triple Crown each year, but for me it holds an extra special meaning. I don’t remember Affirmed winning in 1978, nor do I remember Seattle Slew winning in 1977, but I vividly remember watching all three races of the series in 1973 and seeing Secretariat claim the ultimate trophy (including his World Record Victory at the Belmont). Why were those races and that Triple Crown victory so special?

Because I watched all three races with my parents. In 1973, my father was alive and healthy. In September of 1975, he passed away from colon cancer when I was just thirteen years old. For some reason, seeing a horse take the Triple Crown now creates a connection to that long-ago race, and the whimsy of childhood when everything was right in the world.Year after year, I have watched, hoping to recapture that magical feeling, seeing that victory.

Today, I watched the race with my husband (who never met my father). I feel like I celebrated something that connected him with the other most important man in my life. I am so thoroughly jazzed to have seen TWO Triple Crown winners in my lifetime!

To American Pharoah (and yes, the misspelling is intentional, the result of an error by the Jockey Club), only the twelfth horse (hey, twelve is my favorite number!) to win the Triple Crown—to jockey, Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner, Ahmed Zayat—CONGRATULATIONS! You have accomplished something long overdue in the annals of horse racing.

I feel privileged to have witnessed such an amazing feat today! I’m on Cloud Nine. I can only imagine what they must be feeling. 🙂