As I write this, the Belmont Stakes has not been run yet so I don’t know if we will have a Triple Crown winner for the first time since 1978 or not. I have my fingers crossed that California Chrome pulls it off. I want to see another magnificent horse win the trifecta of thoroughbred racing again.
I used to be a horse racing fan, an even bigger fan than I am now of NASCAR. That was partially because it was a bonding experience between me and my father — and it was easier and cheaper to go to the horse races than it is to go to NASCAR races now. When we lived in Los Angeles, Dad and I went almost every weekend.
We loved the environment of the sport. I think I learned more about different types of people there than anywhere else. There were the beautiful aristocrats in the skyboxes — women in elegant dresses with picture book hats. Often, they were the ones standing in Victory Circle when the races were over.
There were everyday working people, not especially fans, but just wanting a day’s entertainment. They didn’t know the horses and only cared who won because of their $2 bet. Mostly they watched the races on the television monitors.
There were poor people, hoping to parley their 2 bucks into $200. It was poverty’s method of investing. It didn’t often happen but sometimes it did, to their joy.
There were people there simply because they were horse lovers, admiring of their beauty. Betting was beside the point. They hung over the fence to admire the prancing chestnuts and grays and bays and blacks, their hooves kicking up the dirt, restless to get started, tails held high. They were usually accompanied was patient, stolid outriders to keep them calm.