Good horse sense

It was a fete that hadn’t been accomplished in 37 years. The reason it took so long is because it’s very difficult to pull off. 

Last Saturday American Pharoah, a three-year-old thoroughbred colt won the Belmont Stakes completing horse-racing’s first Triple Crown since 1978.

The magnificent beast earlier won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes on his way to the crown.

The beauty of AP’s fete is that he didn’t pump his chest following the race. He didn’t gloat in front of a national TV audience shouting, “I am the greatest.” He didn’t ask for a new contract. He didn’t ask his owner to set him up with sponsor contracts for commercials. He didn’t taunt the other horses.

All American Pharoah wanted after pulling off the incredible achievement was to be doused with some water and maybe nibble at a few sugar cubes.

The colt won’t benefit financially from being one of the best to ever set hoof on a race track. No, that’s for the humans.

There’s plenty of moolah to be made off of AP’s athleticism, but to me it was a real joy to watch him cross the finish line in Elmont, N.Y. Doing it just because he loves to race. 

In all, since 1919, there have been only 12 Triple Crown winners counting American Pharoah. I’ve lived through four of them, and each fete was as exciting as an overtime goal in game seven of a Stanley Cup final hockey game.

There were three crown winners in the 70s, four in the 40s, three in the 30s, and one in 1919.

American Pharoah became America’s darling last Saturday. There was no talk of deflated footballs; no talk of PEDs; no talk of cheating; no talk of any of the competitors facing charges of murder, spousal abuse or drug use.

It was athleticism pure and simple. The fastest horse won, and won, and won.

American Pharoah was foaled (born) on Groundhog Day in 2012. I don’t know if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow that day, but he unwittingly ushered in a hero in the making.

American Pharoah started his racing career as a two-year-old, losing badly in his first try. He’s raced seven times since and each time his nose was the first to cross the finish line.

He came back from a deep bruise on his left front foot that he sustained last year. That’s like an elephant having a sinus problem or a giraffe with a sore throat.

A race horse’s legs and feet are his lifelines.

But come back he did. To become one of the greatest race horses ever. But you’ll never hear that from the horse’s mouth.

He’s got a few more races under his belt before he retires at the end of this year.

He’ll just prepare quietly for those as he has for any other race. Something I wish his human counterparts could emulate.

It makes good horse sense to use our God-given talents to the best of our ability and know that we’ve done the best we could — without letting the rest of the world know about it.

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts