Courtesy of Becky Johnston
Now on to better memories
May 21, 1989 was the date and the
best Preakness many of us have ever seen.
Easy Goer, the darling of the east, the reigning two-year-old champion
had won the Swale Stakes, Gotham Stakes and the Wood Memorial with ease on his
way to Churchill Downs.
1989 Wood Memorial Stakes
Sunday Silence, the gun slinging
colt from the west, won the San Felipe and the Santa Anita Derby on his way to
1989 Santa Anita Derby
Sub-plots abounded because Easy
Goer's owner Ogden Phipps was a longtime client of Claiborne Farms, the farm
that passed over Sunday Silence's co-owner Arthur Hancock as their President
after the elder Hancock's death. Arthur
set out on his own founding Stone Farm and he owned Sunday Silence. Now, the two factions had the best two colts
in the country without question and the rivalry was on.
1989 Kentucky Derby
Sunday Silence was green as grass
in the stretch, but still did not allow the Phipps' entry to get by him. The Californians felt secure they had the best
horse. The Easy Goer camp claimed that
their colt was hampered by the wet track at Churchill Downs. They held out hope when the colts met again
at Pimlico things would be different.
The two colts gave us a race that
we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams. Many consider it the race of the
century. I need only look at the framed
photo on my desk to remember those tenacious moments.
1989 Preakness Stakes
For the next three weeks, the
racing world was somewhat excited about the Triple Crown, but they were much
more excited about seeing these two extraordinary colts hooking up again and
maybe give us a Belmont much like Alydar and Affirmed did in 1978.
It was not to be. The wider turns at Belmont were more conducive to Easy Goer's conformation. He returned to his New York base and Pat Day made sure he knew what was being asked of
him and he provided a devastating kick in the stretch.
Now if we can have another
Preakness of that quality, we already have enough drama, let's have a safe one.
What do you think of Rachel
Alexandra's chances in the Preakness?
Where were you on Preakness day