The Pull of the Preakness

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American Pharoah works out in prepartation for tomorrow's Preakness.  Photo via the Preakness Facebook page.
Kentucky Derby Winner American Pharoah works out. Photo via the Preakness Facebook page.

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose, in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

The Preakness is tomorrow! I hope you heard that in the squeaky, excitable fangirl voice in which I wrote it.

Like Jimmy Buffet’s fans are referred to as Parrotheads, I’m a Horsehead.  Though I am allergic, married to a science teacher (therefore not rich), and have never ridden a horse in my life, I love horse racing. It is the sport of kings that a plebeian like myself can catch on network TV while enjoying a cold liquor beverage, the ice for which was purchased outside my home because my home ice maker’s ice smells funny.

Kentucky Derby Winner American Pharoah teases Dortmund.  Photo via Preakness FB.
Kentucky Derby Winner American Pharoah teases Dortmund. Photo via Preakness FB.

Secretariat still holds the Preakness track record. (Watch him run. It’ll take your breath away. He gets faster every quarter mile.) At Sunrise at Old Hilltop, I held some track sand in my hands and got a little misty and said to my kids,  “Secretariat ran here…” and they were like, “Alright, Mom. We know you loved Secretariat. But you said they’d have orange juice. Where is the orange juice? Where are the Clydesdales? We want orange juice and the Clydesdales from the beer commercial.”

Millions of dollars of horseflesh came through BWI on Wednesday, including the heavy favorite, Kentucky Derby winner American Pharaoh.  His owner, Justin Zayat, is a student at NYU. The Washington Post ran the snarky headline, “When Triple Crown Conflicts With Final Exams: An American Pharaoh Story.” But I’m entranced. I wish the Triple Crown had interfered with my final exams, instead, listen to this tearjerker: my boyfriend broke up me during finals get into a relationship with this girl named Gail. Gail? I said, “Gail? Is that really a name?” and then I failed my Literature of the French Caribbean exam big time.

Justin Zayat. Photo via

Zayat has been keeping a diary of his “surreal week” since the Derby win, and dreamily I read it, and the only thought in my head was, I. Too. Want. A. Thoroughbred. “We could overhaul the downstairs bathroom and bring in some hay,” I told my husband. “We could take in washed-up horses, so they wouldn’t have to become glue.”

He said, “Every May. Triple Crown racing season goes directly to your prefrontal cortex.”






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