The three most recognized horse races—the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes constitute what is know as the Triple Crown. The last winner of the Triple Crown was “Affirmed” in 1978. The horse has to be a 3-year-old and it has only one shot in a lifetime to participate. This year the gelding, Funny Cide, had two thrilling wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and was set to become the next Triple Crown winner. Funny Cide brought great excitement to the sport of horse racing for a number of reasons. NBC announcer Tom Hammond summed it up well, "He’s sort of everyman’s horse… We’re sitting on one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events in months. It’s because the horse has sort of established himself as an underdog. He’s not royally bred. He is a gelding. He was bred in New York, not in Kentucky. Not owned by a millionaire or an Arab sheik, but by a bunch of working men.” (Funny Cide is owned by six former classmates who graduated from Sackets Harbor High School in New York.)
Another significant event for horse lovers and Americans needing a hero came with the release of Seabiscuit, the movie, which premiered on July15, 2003. It is based on the book Seabiscuit: an American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand and is about an “underdog” horse that comes to fame in 1936. This is during the time of the Great Depression when everybody needed a hero. Seabiscuit became a box office hit, and not only lifted viewers beyond the doldrums of summer, but also gave them hope that there are still heroes to be honored and remembered.
Now comes the release of a book about another horse, a very special horse. It is entitled The Legend of the Crown by Steve Allred and is available from www.american-book.com. It is also a book about a person in search of a hero. Cassie Ferguson is a teenager trying to cope with her life. Following her mother’s death in a tragic accident, she is forced to live with her estranged father, Richard, at his horse farm in Kentucky. Failing to come to terms with her loss, she grows up nearly void of hope and refuses to trust anyone but herself. After years of failed attempts to bond with his daughter, Richard almost resigns to giving up until the day a miracle occurs. A foal is born from the very thoroughbred responsible for the death of Cassie’s mother. Cassie discovers the secret to this unique creature that only she can see—a secret that changes her life forever and helps forge a new bond with her father. The story revolves around the pursuit of the Triple Crown as this special horse seeks to become the long-awaited 12th Crown winner.
From horse races to movies and books, this may very well BE the year of the horse.