My mother is a rabid racing fan. She actually participates in online handicapping, and has for years. Every year that there is a possible triple-crown winner, she tells the story of watching the 1978 Preakness (the second race of the three) from her hospital bed. While in labor with me.
They run the races on Saturdays between 5-6pm Eastern. I think her water broke sometime Saturday night, but she'd been in labor for most of the day, all night, and into the next. I was finally born at 1:37 pm Eastern on Sunday, May 28th.
According to her, I did in fact watch Affirmed win the Belmont. She had just finished feeding me, and we were both watching it together. Since I was a couple of weeks old at that point, I doubt that I was actually watching, but she's my mom, so I'm not going to argue with her.
So, why should you all care about this random horse-racing trivia?
This year, it's ALMOST a sure thing that we will finally have another Triple Crown winner in horse-racing. Having watched replays of the last two races, I can say with the small amount of knowledge I've picked up from my mother that Big Brown is one of the most amazing horses I've seen in my lifetime.
It's never completely sure. Anything could, and has, happened. But in my mother's colorful words, Big Brown could probably decide to lay down and take a playful roll in the dirt in the final stretch, and probably still have enough of a lead to get back up and win it by a length or two.
That being said. I will again be watching the replay, instead of the live race. Why? Because in the last few years, racing has been ruined for me by all the breakdowns that have happened. Basically, the breakdown of Barbaro (a horse I fell in absolute love with at first sight, when he won the Florida Derby) in the Preakness nearly broke me, and Eight Belles breaking down just after coming in second in the Kentucky Derby was the official end of my ability to watch a live horse-race. I accidently missed the live running of the Derby, then purposefully didn't watch the Preakness. I waited, and watched the replay after my mother told me it was safe.
I'm tempted to watch live today, but I probably wont. The only reason I would is if my mother specifically asks me to watch with her. She wont, because she understands how I feel. I love horses. I get that from her. But I don't have the pragmatism about the actual sport of racing that she has. So, I'll rely on her to tell me I can watch before I do. We can watch the replay together.
The fact that I can watch anything with her is enough of a gift, at this point. She nearly died last fall. She's still not fully recovered, but she will recover. And today we might be able to see something together that hasn't been seen by anyone for 30 years, to the day. That's more than enough for me.
ETA: Well, it's not to be for another year. That makes it 30, and still counting.