My grandmother got me in to Triple Crown horse racing. I remember eating popcorn with her on that first Saturday in May, watching the Kentucky Derby. And she and I knew it was the most exciting two minutes in sports.
Then comes the Preakness. Long gone were the hats and Southern grace of the Kentucky Derby and far in the future was the Belmont Stakes' faint air of aristocracy. Here at the Preakness we have we have the manimal, Kegasus. It's less about the horses and more about the...fillies.
It's supposed to edify us, Baltimore, to host the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Horse racing is the definition of "sprezzatura," seeming ease, feigned artlessness, making the terribly difficult look like a breeze. It has an ugly underbelly, with drugs, inbreeding, and mistreatment, but when it comes to watching from the rail, all you see is a pure rare form of manimal beauty.
We watch and learn from the pounding horses running the homestretch and the jockeys hanging on for the trip of their life, what it means, despite all the odds, to have heart.