The very first Triple Crown race I ever watched live on TV was the 1988 Kentucky Derby, which was won by the roan filly, the Amazon, Winning Colors. Most will recall that the giant filly was the first Derby winner for her trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, as well as her jockey, Gary Stevens. I remember all too well how elated I was with her victory, not only because she was a girl beating the boys (I’m always up for that!), but also because I was a bourgeoning Lukas fan. Whether it was the fancy suits, the platinum tongue (‘silver tongue’ just doesn’t cut it with Wayne) or his rampant success, I was a believer. And quite honestly, I have been ever since.
|Lukas & Winning Colors|
|Todd Pletcher (shades) & Criminal Type|
By the time the 1989 racing season rolled around, I couldn’t get enough of racing. I read about it, I watched it on TV and I spent literally hundreds of hours poring over stallion registers and a wide array of other racing literature. And I was also positively captivated by Easy Goer. He was the cat’s meow. Heading into that year’s Derby, I couldn’t help but think that we were looking at another Triple Crown winner. Apparently, a racy, near-black colt from California had other ideas. While Sunday Silence would also go on and beat Easy Goer in the Preakness (Oh what heartbreak!), the latter would come back and win the Belmont in ultra-impressive style. That win would propel Easy Goer to victories in the Travers, Whitney, Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup. To this day, his loss to Sunday Silence in the Breeders’ Cup Classic ranks among my most heart wrenching moments in racing. On a brighter note, I did have the opportunity to see Easy Goer at Claiborne Farm in 1991 prior to his untimely death. A most remarkable racehorse.
|Easy Goer winning the 1989 Belmont|