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Citation, A Triple Crown Winner

The Triple Crown of horse racing consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. It traditionally starts on the First Saturday in May with the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later with the Preakness Stakes followed by the Belmont Stakes three weeks after that.

The race is known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”, and I can’t wait to watch the Derby in two days. I have listened to it on the radio at Mirror Lake Farm, my grandmother’s farm in Kentucky, and watched it on television with family and friends for all of my life.

My dad always made us stand up to sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” and it is a pleasure to continue that tradition. He instilled in us a love of his birth state, and that included the horses.

William Monroe Wright, successful entrepreneur and owner of Calumet Baking Powder, established Calumet on a small Lexington, Kentucky farm in 1924. This Thoroughbred nursery resounds with the beauty of the Bluegrass State. http://calumetfarm.com/photos

Citation was born, raised, and trained at Calumet. He won the Triple Crown in 1948, the year I was born. Citation became the 8th Triple Crown winner.

Here is his Derby win. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK4lGpFi5lY

My dad took Critt and me to Calumet Farm every year that we visited my grandmother in Shelbyville. This was one of our day trips. Not only would we tour the stables to pat the horses, he would take us to the back roads to find the horses in the fields. Apples in hand, Daddy would bribe the horses to the fences for us to talk to and pet.

In my mind today, they were huge, magnificent animals. I stood in awe and wariness of their beauty and strength. Daddy had no fear, as he savored being in their presence.

Yes, Kentucky, horses, and the Kentucky Derby are all on my mind this week.

I tend to agree with what Daniel Boone said about Kentucky: “Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune.”

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