Even though neither offspring of his stallion Malibu Moon took a top spot in the 140th running of the Preakness Saturday, Josh Pons, of Bel Air, is glad to see the sport of horse racing come into the national spotlight following American Pharaoh's victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
American Pharoah left no doubts about his status as the pre-eminent 3-year-old of a gifted crop after winning the 2015 Preakness Stakes. Now the question is whether he can handle the war of attrition that will culminate with a Triple Crown shot on June 6 in the Belmont Stakes.
Morning-line long-shot Tale of Verve charged down a muddy homestretch past a trio of Kentucky Derby contenders to take second, seven lengths behind Triple Crown aspirant American Pharoah, in his first stakes race.
Despite fans in the grandstands being cleared as the skies rumbled with thunder and flashes of lightning danced in the near distance, the second leg of racing's Triple Crown continued on a 1 3/16-mile track that resembled a giant slip-and-slide rather than the stage for a dominant seven-length victory.
American Pharoah swept to a commanding victory — and kept alive hopes for an elusive Triple Crown — as Baltimore eagerly embraced the 140th Preakness Stakes' boisterous day-long festivities, which came less than three weeks after the city was torn by riots and looting.
The third Saturday in May was like any other. The grandstand at Pimlico Race Course was a bouquet of fancy hats and the infield was awash in live music, cheap beer and parimutuel tickets that fell like snow after every race. Normalcy returned to Baltimore in the form of the 140th Preakness, a rite of spring that came at just the right time for a city that spent much of the past month in anguish and turmoil.
The successes of Dortmund and other contenders such as Materiality and International Star have brought significant attention to Fasig-Tipton's 2-year-old and yearling auctions in Timonium, where all three were purchased.
Days End in Howard County and Full Moon Farm in Carroll County are among 35 newly certified Maryland Horse Discovery Centers a new effort to boost the state's storied horse industry. Through farm tours, riding lessons and other activities, the centers are designed to stoke equestrian interests.
For more than half a century, the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame shooed race horses from its door. But that changes Thursday night when the first thoroughbred is inducted, albeit posthumously, into the 234-member Hall.
As California Chrome began his recovery from a foot injury that might have contributed to his flat performance in the Belmont Stakes, his co-owner, Steve Coburn, stood by harsh comments about owners and trainers who run fresh horses in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
There is a flip side to California Chrome's disappointing finish in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. It means that we've got a chance to do this all again next year...and the next...and probably the one after that.
Baltimore county resident Stuart Janney III, co-owner of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, did not enter a horse in the Belmont Stakes, but he came away a winner in a big undercard race Saturday at Belmont Park.
Robert Evans laughed when asked if Tonalist, his Belmont Stakes contender, has been a pleasant surprise. "Anytime you have a horse good enough to run in one of these races, it's a pleasant surprise," said Evans, who owns a 500-acre farm in Easton.