It is the time of year when large, often brown, animals run around in a circle while people pontificate and shout. Here are a few of the horses. The first, Uncle Mo, has been scratched because of stomach problems. Loud soundtrack warning; there is no spoken commentary.
Many more racehorses are bred than can possibly succeed, and even those who do have a successful career grow old. Their end can be a grim business running the animals into the ground for small change, followed by a slaughter auction. There's a movement to do something for the fading athletes of the track and those who never made it. Here's one operation working with a dozen horses which will become saddle animals.
In 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone denied Smarty Jones the Triple Crown. The Belmont, at a mile and a half, requires a distance runner, and two foals by Birdstone dueled it out. Summer Bird was just that bit faster than Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, his half-brother.
It's thoroughbred racing's big one and the WSJ has a few comments on what to look for and how to bet. The best way to make money on racing is to have nothing to do with it. It's an expensive business and betting on horses is never a sure thing. Curlin is considered the most powerful contender. The races are of special interest because they will be run on a newly-installed synthetic surface, which, in theory, should reduce the odds of the kind of catastrophic injury that has marred Triple Crown racing.