Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Peek at the Preakness

Saturday is the 1,257th running of the Preakness Stakes. Okay, that number might be slightly off, but according to historians and other smart people, it's a race that was established somewhere between the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Kentucky Derby. Apparently, a few gentlemen somewhere in Maryland who had way too much money, time, horses, and liquor on their hands, held a dinner party and subsequently had a little race to honor the much ballyhooed soiree, which the decided to call the Dinner Party Stakes because the Wine And Cheese With Port And Cigars In The Parlor After Dinner Stakes did not fit on the race card.

Preakness was the 3 year old unraced horse that won the Dinner Party Stakes. It is not clearly documented as to whether George Bush invited Preakness to a white tie affair at the White House after his victory.

And who will it be this year?

Here are the picks:
    1. Street Sense
    2. Hard Spun
    3. Hard Spun
    4. Street Sense

But let's face it. How can you not want Street Sense to win? How can any horseplayer or racing enthusiast on this planet not want to see Street Sense win the Preakness? I don't care if you're Steve Asmussen's long lost cousin Festus living in the Arbuckle Wilderness of Oklahoma and you've tattoed Curlin on your backside - there is nothing more exciting that going to Belmont with the possibility of a Triple Crown winner.

So, since I have efficiently handicapped the Preakness, let me dole out a little more history.

The Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) were introduced as the race flowers in 1940. Conveniently, The Black-Eyed Susans are also the state flower of Maryland. And of course, Pimlico would be in Maryland, not Mississippi. And Mississippi would have probably have noticed if Pimlico would have indeed been there since there is no horse racing in that state. Although they do have a very nice state flower, the Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).

A tidbit of information: the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans draped across the withers of the Preakness winner are not Black-Eyed Susans at all. They are actually Viking daisies with black lacquered centers to resemble Black-Eyed Susans because Black-Eyed Susans do not bloom in Maryland until June.

The Gardener's Network states that Black-Eyed Susans are very easy to grow.
They will do well in average soils and even poor soils. They also tolerate dry soil conditions. While you do not need to water or fertilize Black Eyed Susan, a little care will be rewarded with more blooms.

Once your Black Eyed Susan are established, they will grow well unattended.

And finally, according to Aggie Horticulture, the Black-Eyed Susan is "a true sunshine worshiper that forgives neglect." I wish the same could be said for horse racing in Maryland.

1 comment:

Handride said...

I have black eyed susans and I can attest that if they bloom once, they pretty much are weeds, don't put them close to any garden where you are growing something else because they eventually take over.