Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I suppose it depends on where you live, who you ask/listen to, and how comfortable you feel. The daily bombardment of numbers related to testing, confirmed cases, and deaths are now having to share airtime with talk of precautionary measures and reopening plans. As professional sports leagues around the globe try to figure out plausible scenarios for finishing suspended seasons and/or prepping for the future, we at The Turf are continuing our “Filling the Void” series. Today, we add a brand new sport to the list, with the first appearance of horse racing.
Today: The 2005 Preakness
A Quick History Lesson
Folks – I know exactly nothing about horses and horse racing. My experiences with horses can be counted on one hand, and even then they were only on guided tours in the back of a modified 4×4 off-road vehicle. Beyond that, you might as well be speaking to me in a foreign language. I couldn’t tell you what a furlong is. Can I tell the difference between a gelding, a colt, and a fillie? Nope. Thankfully, you’re not here to learn about horses (at least, I don’t think you are).
What I do know is that today, May 16th, would have been the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes. The race, which takes place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, is the second leg of the Triple Crown. It has been the middle leg of the trio of races since 1932, following the Kentucky Derby and preceding the Belmont Stakes. The race itself has been run since 1873. It is the highlight of a day filled with betting, fancy hats, and partying. From the awarding of the “Black-Eyed Susan” blanket and Woodlawn Vase to the painting of the weather vane after the winner is confirmed, the Preakness routinely draws massive crowds of revelers and spectators. In 2005, they witnessed some truly amazing athleticism, from both horse and jockey.
Afleet Alex did WHAT?
Have you ever been walking in a crowd and accidentally clipped the heels of the person in front of you? Have you ever been the person whose heels have been clipped? Of course you have. We all have. Well – in 2005, Afleet Alex could relate. He and his jockey, Jeremy Rose (who was racing in his first Preakness Stakes) got tangled with another horse as they rounded the final turn and headed for home. Remarkably, after the horses clipped heels, they and their jockeys both managed to stay upright and finish the race. Afleet Alex, whose nose nearly hit the dirt as he tripped, went on to win by 4 3/4 lengths. It is truly a remarkably athletic feat. Click the link above and marvel for yourself!
See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.
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