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La Ville Rouge, Dam of Barbaro, Pensioned

It's a picture of her on the website article, but in the app, it's a picture of him. My beautiful, beautiful boy.


Ohmygod I'm as excited for this as I am the really big day!

And guess who's STILL UNDEFEATED! He was awesome! In the past 20+ years, only three horses had shipped in from California to try the Florida Derby and managed the win, and now it's four! He had the lead more-or-less the entire way, and Mohaymen did come up to challenge him, but Momo just couldn't hold on. He faded quite a bit back, in fact. :/

So it's NYQUIST! Team O'Neill again! Got my Derby pick, I know that!

(Also, weirdly? Mohaymen is NOT a son of Uncle Mo. He's a Tapit baby. Nyquist is the Mo!)



Leading the post parade for the Cincinnati Spiral Stakes! Being led, and being two handfuls!

He was a track pony for a little while after he retired, but his campaign had just taken too much out of him, so they let him go to the Horse Park to be an ambassador. But he still makes appearances every now and then. So nice to see him. ^_^

Nyquist. Not Nyquil. Not even close.

While I do desperately miss such channels as BBC and Animal Planet and National Geographic, I am loving having TVG. I can actually watch Derby preps again!

Biiiig prep today. Florida Derby. Two of the top contenders for 2016, Mohaymen and Nyquist, both currently undefeated, are actually meeting before the Derby, which doesn't happen much anymore, because connections don't want the best to burn out fighting each other before the big day.

Mohaymen's a pretty, pretty boy. You know how I do love a grey. Buuut...

Nyquist - winner of the 2015 Breeder's Cup Juvenile (but we've proven already that the Jinx CAN be broken!) and 2015 Champion 2-Year-Old Male -s the exact. Same. Connections as I'll Have Another. Same trainer (Doug O'Neill). Same owner (Paul Reddam). Same jockey (Mario Gutierrez). And while I am quite content to have a reigning Pharoah for the forseeable future, and don't all mind the idea of this just being an average, no-stress year, I would also not at all mind them having another great season. ^.^

Goooo Nyquist!

Polish Perfection

I may as well give up on sleep for today, because it's 8:30 in the morning here, 5:50pm in Dubai, Meydan Racetrack is about to send off Race #4, and the Dubai World Cup is Race #9. X_x

I am enjoying having TVG greatly. >_>

Chromie's running again. He was second in it last year, and of course this will be his final year racing, so even though he may run back in the States after this, this is probably the biggest race left in his career.

Dubai's a weird place. It's almost like the States on steroids - everything's got to be the biggest, the best, the most expensive. The world's biggest flag, the world's richest race. The crowd's a mix of men in suits and ladies in fine dresses and hats, and very local gentleman in robes and head coverings. What I think is the winners' circle is shaped like a horseshoe. I like it.

This next race is the UAE Derby, and equally weirdly, I guess, a points race for the Kentucky Derby. A FILLY IS RUNNING. Two, actually. Vale Dori and Polar River, who's currently the favourite. I'm totally on her side. Though if it's not her, then I'll go for Frank Conversation, just because he's Team O'Neill.

In the first race TVG aired, the Goldolphin Mile, was a horse named La Bernardin, who's an obvious son of Bernardini, and they showed a clip of Bernardini winning the Preakness - and you know, I'm not sure I've ever actually seen it, or at least, never really watched it. The only things I remember from that year are not knowing who won it until afterward, and what everyone remembers, of course - but in the clip, coming down the stretch, crossing the finish line, you can't see what's going on on the far side of the track, just off that first turn; you can't see the horse who's broken down, you can't see Barbaro.

It still. Fucking. Hurts. It still makes me cry. And this is one of those years, too; one of the important ones, where I owe him a letter.

I need an American Pharoah userpic. Why don't I have one yet?

Aw. Neither Polar River nor Frank Conversation got the win, though Polar River was very close. It was a grey from Japan, Lani, by Tapit, out of a Sunday Silence mare. Tapit makes some good babies (and Sunday Silence is, like, THE Japanese sire of the ages). They're going to bring him for the Derby! That will be neat. Moar international horsefriendz, onegai! We do get a handful in our races, most often from Britain, Ireland, or various places in Central/South America, but you really want to see them come from all over, it's Dubai, on World Cup Day. It used to be that horses from the States didn't do much overseas racing, because the trips took so much out of them, but Cigar's connections took a chance and sent him to the very first Dubai Cup, exactly twenty years ago, and he proved it could be done and won. (He was a stellar horse, in general. It's only been a couple of years ago that he died, and his potential line ended there, because he never got a single mare in foal. But he was an ambassador at the Kentucky Horse Park for many years, and everyone loved him.)

The turf course is so pretty, all planted with palm trees. Race #5 and the sun is low; it's a bit after 6 there. The Cup will be run under lights. But a nine-year-old horse from Australia, who was purchased for $22K, just won a $2 million race. Only the third winner Oz has ever had on Cup night.

I like happy stories.

Long-ass break between races 6 and 7. According to TVG, the World Cup won't go off until at least noon. -wilt-

Oh my! Such adorable horsie balloons, and a light show! It's dark there now, but early still, and no one will be tired, anyway. They'll party all night, no matter who wins what.

Frosted and Keen Ice are running in the Cup, too. You almost have to feel sorry for Keen Ice - his biggest claim to fame is always going to be "The horse who beat American Pharoah (after he won the Triple Crown)." And sure, that's a Big Thing, but still. (And Frosted, at least to me, will always be the Flake who pushed Pharoah so hard Keen Ice had the chance. >_>)

Favourites aren't doing well today. Japan is doing VERY well.

I don't like Chrome's new silks - Taylor Made Farms, who will have his stud rights once he retires, bought out one side of his original ownership and started running him under California Chrome LLC rather than DAP. So the silks are silver, for chrome, but they just don't have the flair of that green and purple jackass.

Hahaha. Runhappy's connections have spent what must be a SHITLOAD of money to pimp him on TVG, and the newest commercial is, "The only horse nominated for THREE Eclipse Awards: Champion Sprinter, Champion Three-Year-Old, and Horse of the Year." And, uh... You have fun with those nominations all you want, sweetie, because you know who you lost two of them to.

I'm such a bitch. And a hardcore Pharoah phangirl phorever.

And I'm not saying Happy's not a good horse, because he is. That's just...you know. Maybe not the way you want to go with the pimping. lolol.

Oh my. This poor dear in Race #8 is going to have to run without a shoe. They tried to give him a last-minute repair, but they couldn't get it done in time, so it was that or scratch him. Good luck, little shoeless guy!

Oh oh! He came in SECOND! Good job, Duramente! (His not winning was unrelated to the shoe. The win horse, Postponed, just dominated the entire time.)

That's eight down. One to go.

Ten minutes out arg arg arg. Though that's the official post time. If it's anything like the bigger American races, it's likely to be later that it actually goes off.

(What's really bad is that there are three Derby preps later today that I wouldn't mind seeing. I will never sleep arg arg arg.)

Frosted's such a pretty boy, a grey. If it wasn't for Pharoah, I'm sure I would have loved him.

Oh, hey, there's Mubtaahij. I should have known the UAE Derby was a points race, because he won it last year and that's how they brought him over for Kentucky.

A lot of the non-US horses seem to have been quarter clipped, which is to say they've had patterns clipped into the hair on their hindquarters. Fun!

Ha! Even Michael said as soon as he saw Chrome, "Why is he wearing grey?" YOUR SILKS SUCK, TAYLOR MADE.

They're off - and holy shit, HE WAS AMAZING. He was up third, fourth off the pace and four wide the entire time, and when they came to that last stretch - gone. Just gone. Opening up those lengths from the rest of the field like every horse I've ever loved, like a Derby winner, like a Preakness winner, like a Horse of the Year, like a World Cup Winner. And his saddle was halfway "off!" The girth slipped back, practically to the spot you'd put a rope on a bronco to make it buck, and he didn't even care! He just ran on, ran on like a wonderhorse. And it's proof of just how skilled a jockey Victor is, too, to be able to keep his balance on that; to not tip to the side, and go off.

(See, I don't stop loving them after their heyday. But he's still in his, really.)

And possibly my favourite line from a race caller since, "American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown" - "Alchemy in Dubai, as Chrome turns to Gold."

You shine right on, Chrome. You shine right on.

(However - possibly my other favourite thing from today - a horse named Steve just won a race at Gulfstream. STEVE! How do you even get a racehorse named just Steve? XD )

[ d e e p . t i m e ]

In Colorado, in Trinidad Lake State Park, there's a place called Long Canyon, and in Long Canyon, there are trails and a "watchable wildlife area." And down there, somewhere, there's a piece of rock with a white line through it, and that white line is the K-P Boundary, the day the dinosaurs died.

(I'm oversimplifying. It's actually the layer of dust that settled after the asteriod impact, and the extinction didn't happen instantaneously; it was a process. But when you're talking about Deep Time, when millions of years compress to a single moment compared to the aeons before and beyond - It's close enough.)

I'm going there, someday, and I'm going to put my hand on it, and touch Deep Time.

(All rocks are Deep Time. All the rocks and all the mountains, all the striations in every shelf of stone. The Burgess Shale [which I'd also love to see, but it's very restricted now], the bottom of the sea, the Australian shore where there's a fossilized film that might, just might, be the very first remains of life. There's deeper time than the K-P, far deeper, but for a dinosaur fangirl - that's it, that's the one.)


On the way home from the barn, we saw a herd of deer in a field of snow. All does, it seemed, or bucks who've already let their antlers down.

We took Pie and Layla to the vet, and the Missouri Conservation magazine in the office said, "Hunting for shed antlers is a fun winter activity! Antlers are usually shed from now until February."

Long live the king.

Champion Three-Year-Old Male. Unanimous.

Horse of the Year. Unanimous.

American Pharoah, on the strength of his racetrack exploits and his kindness to any and all human visitors, rises above even the lofty throne of Horse of the Year.

All hail the horse of a lifetime. All hail the king.

(Top owner and breeder for the Zayats, and top trainer for Baffert. But Victor did not get top jockey - Javier Castellano, who rode Keen Ice to beat Pharoah in the Travers, did - and it wasn't because of that; he's a good jockey who won numerous races and broke some records this year, but damnit, you just want the Pharoah team to have a clean sweep! I vote we all send Victor fun "Great job!" stickers. >_>)

Oh, what the fucking fuck, universe.

Jareth wasn't enough for you; now you've got to take SNAPE, too?

(Not even just Snape. Once I grew up and put it together that HE was the Sheriff of Nottingham, a lot of things about my fantasy-fetishy childhood crushes started making a lot more sense. >_> )

(I really, really hope this is one of those amazingly well-done hoaxes that manages to pull the wool over even supposedly-respectable news outlets' eyes. Because CNN just says "a source", and the similarities are... Yeeeah. But I've seen it in more than one place now. ;_; )

Seriously, who next? Are there some beloved horses you could kill for me?

(Dear universe: PLEASE do not kill any of my beloved horses just to spite me. I am not capable of taking it.)

Goodbye, spaceman.

(Though you'll always, always be the Goblin King to me. So that's one more world where the mirror's cracked and the wardrobe's closed, and we're never going back to the party.)

(But I like to think that you're going home.)


One: Interchangeable circular knitting needles are a thing that exist. *_* -nosebleeds like anime nerd presented with panties-

Two: Oh, Gotham. You are the Sharknado of Batman, and I should be shamed by my love for you. But I'm not.
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. (Vincent Van Gogh)

When I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion, then I go out and paint the stars. (Vincent Van Gogh)

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. (Carl Sagan)

"Do you see anything?" "Wonderful things." (Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, at the opening of Tut's tomb.)

And this one I have, but -

I have preferred thee above all beasts of burden, inasmuch as I have made thy master thy friend. I have given thee the power of flight without wings. (God and the wind become horse.)

The King of Kings

That's how a champion goes out.

That's the Pharoah I saw in the Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont, the Haskell. That's my king.

And right now, I don't know that we'll ever see a horse like him again. When Affirmed won that last Triple Crown in 1978, the Breeders' Cup didn't even exist yet. This is the first time a Triple Crown winner has even had a chance to do what they've already been calling the "Grand Slam." And now we have not just our king, but our first Grand Slammer, too. And as hard as it was to get that most recent crown... It's going to take another wonder horse to do all four again.

And if no other horse can... In all honesty, that will be fine by me.

(He won it like he's won every other race that he was on his game in: Handily, easily, didn't even try. There was no one who could catch. They were the horses who never had the chance.)

In a few years, when someone asks me if it's still Pharoah for me, after all this time...


Long live the king.

[ l a s t . b a t t l e ]

Baby King,
(because you are still a baby, even by your species' rules)

Baby King, you got nothing to prove. You've done everything that was ever asked of you and more. You may not have won that last race you were in (the Midsummer Derby, the Travers), but anyone who tries to say you LOST it? Wasn't watching the same race I was. Didn't see you rally for every step, didn't see that fight you put up to get as far as you did, when so many others would have faded entirely. You may not have beat the winner that day, but you beat all the others, including that Frosted flake that tried to run you into the ground. Your face will adorn the most hallowed of halls, where only a handful of portraits will ever hang. You'll be there with the first of them, and who knows? Maybe you'll be the last. Maybe you won't, but at least you know whoever else may hold the throne, they'll be worthy, too.

But Baby King, we'd be lying if we said we didn't want you to. Even your owner says, "The others were for the fans and the sport, but this one's for you." We're always looking for the next page of the fairytale, and when we reach the last, for the happiest of ends. We want the lights your name is written in to be made of stars, like you.

So when you go out there today, Baby King, know that no matter what happens, we'll love you like we've always loved you, because there's nothing else you have to do for us. But when you do -

You give it everything you've got. Not because you have to, but because that's who you are, and you're not even capable of giving anything less.

You're going to be battling familiar foes, who've had a target on your back this whole year.

Youre going to be battling old soldiers, who've been around this track a few times.

You're going to be battling wild cards, horsey berserkers, who'll throw every trick in the book at you in the hopes that you won't see it coming.

But you're the King, Baby King, and I know what's going to happen when they get eye to eye with you and try to stare you down. You'll give them exactly what they're asking for. You'll give them a WAR.

Decimate that field of foes, Baby King. Leave them in the dust. Leave them your legend, your legacy, your fairytale ending in a glowing searing sunset gold that will never fade.

I believe in you.

All hail the King.

[ h o o f beat | h e a r t beat ]

I've always hoped that when I get to horse heaven
(because that's where I want to go, if I don't disperse into the endless sea)
I won't be afraid to run anymore.
(Because then there won't be any reason to be afraid, right?)

But when I think about crossing the bridge
and you're all waiting for me there
I always see us riding free.
No saddles - no bridles
Just the sky beneath your hooves
and the wind in our manes
(When you're riding the rainbows, you don't need reins)


Fuck your independence.

Normally I'm actually in favour of people being able to do whatever the fuck they want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone who doesn't want to be hurt, but when they decided to legalize at-home fireworks here, did anyone think, "You know, beyond the issues of redneck fratboy dumbasses* blowing themselves up, this might be a problem for the people who don't go to the public shows for reasons of noise and/or crowds, because now they won't be able to get away from it?" It's been going on on three sides of us for upwards of three hours now, to the point that I'm starting to seriously consider taking an Ativan for the purpose it's actually prescribed for, except that I'm afraid if I do, it'll fuck it up for when I'm going to need it to put me to sleep. But I now I know exactly how the horses (and Pie-cat) feel about it and why they need to be tranqed for a number of celebratory holidays, because every synpase in my animal brain is going HACKLES UP EARS BACK HIDE HIDE HIDE. (I've always had trouble with some types of sound, I guess because of the SPD, but it's gotten so much worse lately, and this is just... Cannot fucking deal, and I guess it gets a pass because it's a holiday, so I don't think we could call for a noise violation even if that was something we'd do.)

* I do know that people other than drunk redneck fratboys get hurt by fireworks, and that it's fairly often children through far more fault of their unsupervising guardians than their own, but around here, we have such a preponderance of the drunk dumbass type that it's a fairly safe assumption. ~_~

Last Shot at Hercules Hill

I've always wondered at least a little about those science documentaries where the crew only has a very limited amount of time to find what they're looking for, and it doesn't happen, and it doesn't happen, and then at the eleventh hour - It just seems so perfectly contrived, you know? But tonight, I actually SAW IT HAPPEN.

I've been watching Nautilus Live, which is an amazing live feed from the EV Nautilus deep-sea exploration cruises - they've got two ROVS rated for 4000 metres, and they stream all the dives for anyone who's interested in marine science (and take questions! And talk to you!). A few weeks ago, a freaking sperm whale came over to investigate the camera. I missed that, but I've been glued to it the past few days - they're diving at the Galapogos Spreading Rift, looking for hydrothermal vents. Most of what they've seen have been seep vents, which are only nominally warmer than the surrounding waters - you locate them by watching for indicator species like crabs, clams, mussels, dandelions, and zoarcid fish, and when you start seeing those, you start looking for cloudier or shimmering water, and if you get really lucky, you get to see big-ass tube worms like Riftia. We saw some crazy fields of Riftia at a site called Tempus Fugit Thursday night, and late Friday night/early Saturday morning, before I left for the barn, they discovered two previously-unknown seep vents AND found a chimney from a dormant black smoker (meaning no longer active, but not yet dissolved)! Saturday afternoon, and most of Sunday, they were mapping the floor in that area, and Sunday night, they went back to Tempus Fugit for sample collections and a bioluminescence experiment. They only had a few hours to explore after that, so they decided to head toward a seamount showing up on Google Earth.

We saw a lot more of those seep vents, but we also started seeing more and more of those dormant smoker chimneys - including one that was 17 metres high! 55 feet! Then we got up the seamount - and just as the watch shift was changing - another chimney rose out of the darkness. It looked dormant, and both the clams and the larger tube worms around it were dead, but there were still some fish and crabs, and someone saw shimmering water, so they went in for a closer look, and - off to the side - the TINIEST CHIMNEY EVER - with grey smoke coming out. It's an active black smoker in the process of becoming dormant, of dying off. In literally the last hour of the exploration, because they have to start their ascent back to the ship at 7 AM EDT. Later this week, they're going out to a site where there were already suspected to be active smokers, but they said there had never been one sighted in this part of the rift before. (Seeps, yes. Smokers, no.) And there was a shot coming up on the second approach to the bigger chimneys where Hercucles' lights were reflecting off the minerals in the water, and tiny white organisms were fluttering down (like snow, but they were too big to actually be marine snow, so they had to be some other kind of thing), and the chimeys were in the background of all this shimmering glow, and it all looked like some kind of fairy castle. ;_;

(And we've seen squid and octopus and anemones and anemonots and sea cucmbers and sea pigs and corals and flamboyant squid worms and Pompeii worms and serpulid worms and pycnogonids and and and this is the BEST THING EVER for an ocean fangirl who didn't get to be a marine biologist!)

Omg! Seven minutes to go, and we just found another teeny little active chimlet!

"Nice way to end," says Dr Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic and did some of the very earliest work on black smokers. And the chimeys are falling away into the darkness as they start the ascent, and it's so, SO pretty. It'll take a couple of hours for them to come up, and then they've got to go back to port for a few days to swap crew members and get ready for the next leg of the expedition. I may actually get to do something else for a while. >_>

But not yet, because there are fun things in the rest of the water column, too.

Oh, and one of the Riftia samples collected the other night? Was TWELVE FEET. You know what you get if you look up stats about them? "Riftia can grow to be two metres (seven feet) in length!" AHAHA OUR TUBE WORMS ARE BIGGER THAN YOURS, BITCHES!

...I really might need to do something else for a while. <_<


He was wonderful.

It looked like he bobbled a very tiny bit when he broke, but it didn't matter in the slightest. He went straight to the lead and held it, the entire time. A mile and a half.

Wire to wire.

I don't think he was ever even really challenged. Frosted tried, near the end, but it was too late. Two lengths opened up, and then three, and then five. He won it by five and a half, and even the track announcer was shouting for him. For the rest of the broadcast, a good thirty, forty-five minutes, the crowd never stopped cheering (and probably not after, either). Even before he dismounted, Victor was being hugged, having his hand shaken, high-fives, and the track staff, the handlers and even the media, who came out to meet them on the track had their phones out so they could get pictures for themselves.

There were people who thought he had no chance. The fractions in the Derby were slow. The Preakness was run in mud. Etcetera. And sometimes races are flukes. Sometimes, the horses who should win don't and the horses with nothing do. But you don't win the Triple Crown if you're not the best, and you sure as hell don't win the Triple Crown by going wire to fucking wire in the Belmont unless you're the best.

He's the best.

His breeding rights were sold shortly after the Preakness, so it was already a given that he won't run next year, but the elder Zayat has promised he'll run through this season, at least, and given that some people were wondering if he'd run again at all if he won the Crown, I'll take it. And maybe he does get it, because he said, "I personally made a promise to my family and to the fans more than anybody else. We need to enjoy our stars and race them as long as we possibly (can)." (I mean, certainly, I understand that Pharoah is quite possibly the most valuable horse in racing right now, and they can't take too many chances with him. But you know my hatred for taking them away as soon as they've hit their peak, for fear that they won't be worth as much if, god forbid, they lose a race or two after that. So I have to respect that they have some respect for the fans. Mr Zayat said very nice things when the trophy was presented, too. "This is for the fans. This is for you.")

I keep watching it, because it almost doesn't feel real, and because I want to watch it forever, and never forget.

Long live the king.

...the king is dead...


I can't even right now, can't even. Later, when tears have stopped enough to see.

Pray for rain. Pray for reign.

Two hours out. Cloudy but dry. The track's showing serious speed bias.

Small field, that's an advantage for everyone. You don't have twenty horses all jostling for the sweet spot.

He's beaten every horse in it at least once.

He's never raced over the Belmont track before. All the other TC winners did. Doesn't matter. Miracles happen.

Victor doesn't have a great record over it. Doesn't matter. Miracles happen.

Penny Chenery likes Pharoah. Penny Secretariat Chenery. (They talked to the Seattle Slew & Affirmed connections, too. But when you've seen footage of Secretariat's Belmont, when you've seen the race where he won by THIRTY-ONE LENGTHS, you understand why Mrs. Chenery showing favour - )

He's so cute. Toss his head, stick his tongue out. He knows the camera's there. They all say he's just a big baby, nothing but love. The Zayats almost sold him, and decided halfway through the sale to buy him back.

"He's won on fast racks, he's won on muddy tracks, he's won on synthetic tracks. He's won from up front, he's won from behind. He really is a jockey's dream ride."

He's 3/5, the kind of bet tickets that, if he wins, are worth more as a souvenier than a cashout. Frosted and Materiality are just behind him; everyone else is double digits.

Victor grew up on a goat farm in Mexico, and he was afraid of horses! He wouldn't even pet the farm ponies! He didn't want to be a farmer, so he drove a bus. And he thought he'd do that forever!

Pharoah's run seven races, and only lost his first. If he wins today, it'll be his seventh in a row. Lucky lucky seven.

I'm always in knots, I always believe. But does it feel different this year, or do I just forgot, between?

The Manhattan Stakes is about to go off. Last race before the big one.

So many of us have never seen it happen. We need it. We deserve it. It's the sport of kings, so give us a king. Give us a Pharoah.

Hour down. Hour to go. He's on the way to prep.

Five of eight jockeys have win a Belmont before. Gary Stevens is the oldest, on Tale of Verve. Irad Ortiz is the youngest, on Mubtaahij, and he's been having a great weekend Maybe they're just saving the biggest win for Victor.

Thirty minutes.

"There he is, the dream maker."

Jockeys on their way down.

Jerry Bailey thinks he'll go wire to wire. That would be insane. That would be amazing.

Six of six NBC commentators think it's going to be him. The simulation thinks it's going to be him. The handicappers say if you're playing for money, you bet Frosted - but they hinted that if you're playing best horse, it's Pharoah. Pharoah all the way.

(And I remember - I remember that horrrible year, 2004, when the Captain was actually visiting during the Belmont; Smarty Jones was coming down the stretch and he kept saying, "He's got it, they're not going to catch him" - and then here comes Birdstone. I remember, but I'm not going to think about it too much.)

Saddle's on. Earplugs are in, and he's calm and cool.


And this year, I leave this here, with fifteen minutes to go - I've promised a friend who's down in a basement with no TV that I'll speakerphone her, so she can hear it when history was made.

It's not gonna rain, but it might still reign.


As if American Pharoah did not have enough going for him in his quest for the Triple Crown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes presented by DraftKings (gr. I), there was a torrential downpour early with more rain forecast for later in the day.

I watched a couple of his works. He looks like a beast. Even the commentators love him. They question, because it's what they do (and because invicinble horses have lost it before), but they'll say it. They think he can. (I think he can, I think he can, the big bay horse who could.)

It's a tough field, but the main things he'll have working against him are the distance, and how tired he is. This is the first time - and for some, only time - that these babies will go a mile and a half. It's where a lot of them fall (short) - and the track is tricky for the jockeys, too; they can come around the far turn and think it's time to make their move, and it's not, not quite yet. They've still got a bit to go. But Victor's been over this track before - hell, this is the third time he's got a shot at the Crown! - so you hope, you hope he knows. (His record at Bemont is...not fabulous, though. -bites hooves-)

So many third times that could be a charm, today. Third time for Victor reaching for the crown (War Emblem, many years ago, and Chrome, last year). Pharoah's grandsire, Empire Maker, wasn't even in contention for it; he lost the Derby and Preakness - but he's the one who took the Belmont from Funny Cide. Pioneer of the Nile - Empire Maker's son, Pharoah's sire - didn't get any of them. He was second in the Derby (to Mine That Bird). So, third generation.

You know why I love his name, really? It's not just the obvious Egyptian connection. It's that for whatever reason, it specifically makes me think of American Gods, of Mr Jackal and Mr Ibis in that funeral home down in Cairo.

I want him, so much. I want all of them, of course (except for that one, except for Big Brown), but...I really want him.

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