I know I was not the only person standing in the middle of my living room breathlessly watching history unfold this past Saturday.
Unfortunately, I missed the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, but I feel like I did not miss a thing after watching the Preakness Stakes on May 15, 2004. I could not believe what I had witnessed even after the race was replayed several times following Smarty Jones' amazing win.
This amazing creature used every inch of his body to win, by a record-breaking 11 1/2 lengths, and still managed to look as if he could have run even further. I can still see the race in my mind as I sit here and write this, especially as I look at my $2 winning ticket, which I plan on keeping forever as a collector's item.
I, along with many other Americans, have jumped on the Smarty Jones bandwagon. There are quite a few of us who believe that this horse will break the 26-year Triple Crown drought. War Emblem and Funny Cide were willing to get our attention and raise our enthusiasm with wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2002 and 2003, respectively. But they were not able to complete the dream.
America is looking for a hero. A champion. Someone who will raise the emotions and banish some of the fear and concern that we walk around with these days. The one who, for just under two minutes, will allow us to forget everything else that is going on in the world and show us that there is always hope. This small, ordinary-looking colt from Philly with his outstanding and relaxed athleticism could do just that.
Here's to you, Smarty Jones!
Tara Cullen is the marketing manager for Primedia Equine Network and a Baltimore resident.
A record crowd of 112,668 was on hand to witness Smarty Jones' victory at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. For the complete race results, check out Cindy Pierson Dulay's 2004 Preakness Results article. Cindy is the horse racing authority who heads up horseracing.about.com.
Want to know more about the amazing colt from Philadelphia? Read Cindy's article The Smarty Jones Story to explore the colt's history, such as where his name came from and how he almost died before ever getting to race.