|Welcome to my constant mental state.|
Like many people, I watched the Belmont Stakes through a screen. Mine happened to be on my phone. I was a houseguest among future family members, all of them patient and polite through my attempt to explain the intricacies of the Triple Crown as the minutes ticked down to post time. We sat drinking Arabic coffee, joking that this was very Bedouin of us, as Belmont Park stretched across my iPhone.
The collection of books grew, even when the mystical allure of horse racing fell away the more I understood about the sport, leaving me with the reality that racing can be hard to watch. In my world of Thoroughbred, tragedy was very black and white. The antagonists caused break downs, the protagonists fixed them. It has taken me years to come to terms with horse racing as non-Thoroughbred, and I’ve come to accept two fundamental truths: humans are fallible, and horses are delicate, accident-prone on the best of days. For all the careful, meticulous horse people involved in racing, who love their charges without question and shower upon them the utmost care, there is that one impatient person that makes the bad decision that ends with consequences for the whole nation to see. There is also the uncomfortable truth that in every horse industry under the sun, the best, most careful of plans can end in heartbreak.
|American Pharoah runs into the Belmont Park homestretch.|
My Thoroughbred collection is still together, sitting on a shelf if gathering dust. I still love it, and I gain inspiration from my memories of it as I work on my own racing-themed young adult novels. Stay the Distance, which takes place on the New York racing circuit, was released this spring. My next, Finding Daylight, is all Ocala horse country. I’ll always keep my children’s stories, because I’m sentimental like that, just like all the fans who roared and wept when American Pharoah ran past the wire first on a sunny Saturday in New York.
Photo Credits: Image of American Pharoah was happily provided by its owner, Ronnie Betor.