More Horse Fever

In 2001 and then again in 2011, Ocala experienced Horse Fever when the Marion Cultural Alliance sponsored the life size horses painted or embellished to represent a variety of themes which decorated city streets while raising over 1.75 million dollars for MCA and 35 other local charities.

IMG_5621This week, Horse Fever in Ocala and across the country refers to the excitement many felt as American Pharaoh won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday to become the twelfth Triple Crown Winner, and the first since Affirmed, a Florida-bred thoroughbred, won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont in 1978.

In the past 37 years, twelve horses had been in the same position as American Pharaoh having won both the Derby and Preakness, but all had fallen short.

IMG_5624Horse racing was ready for another Triple Crown winner, and this year, I cheered for one as well. I couldn’t cheer for California Chrome last year because my loyalty remains with the horses with ties to Florida. I don’t cheer for the Dodgers, or Lakers, or Raiders. I’m not a fan of USC or UCLA or any other California team so I just couldn’t root for California Chrome, a west coast horse, but with connections to Marion County, this Kentucky bred horse seemed perfect for the honor this year.

This print has hung in my parents’ house for years, but they gave it to Sarah and Daniel this year as an Engagement gift, and now it’s missing the latest Triple Crown winner, the one they cheered on last Saturday during their first Belmont as husband and wife. I wonder if this had anything to do with the American Pharaoh breaking the long drought of Triple Crown winners?

Horse Fever

In 2001 and then again in 2011, Ocala experienced Horse Fever when the Marion Cultural Alliance sponsored the life size horses painted or embellished to represent a variety of themes decorated city streets while raising over 1.75 million dollars for MCA and 35 other local charities.

IMG_5621

This week, Horse Fever in Ocala and across the country refers to the excitement many feel as California Chrome races in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday attempting to be the first Triple Crown Winner since Affirmed, a Florida-bred thoroughbred, won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont in 1978.

In the past 36 years, eleven horses have been in the same position as California Chrome having won both the Derby and Preakness, but all have fallen short.

IMG_5624

Horse racing is ready for another Triple Crown winner, but I’m not sure I’ll be cheering for California Chrome this weekend. Instead, my loyalty will be with the horses with ties to Florida. I don’t cheer for the Dodgers, or Lakers, or Raiders. I’m not a fan of USC or UCLA or any other California team so I just can’t root for a west coast horse.

I hope California Chrome runs a good race, but I’d like to see his name added to the list of horses that managed to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to come up short at the Belmont. For me, Horse Fever this year remains on the streets of Ocala.

  • Spectacular Bid (1979)
  • Pleasant Colony (1981)
  • Alysheba (1987)
  • Sunday Silence (1989)
  • Silver Charm (1997)
  • Real Quiet (1998)
  • Charismatic (1999)
  • War Emblem (2002)
  • Funny Cide (2003)
  • Smarty Jones (2004)
  • Big Brown (2008)