In the Philadelphia Daily News, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell writes about his love for “the ponies” (and says he picked Shackleford in the Preakness). He also discusses his state's recent connections to the Triple Crown, most directly with Smarty Jones. He vividly recalls the 2004 Belmont:
“Birdstone, who had a distance-favoring pedigree, rallied from well off the post and caught Smarty at the eighth pole. Smarty was burned out and could not rally, and as the race ended, the deafening roar gave way to a silence quieter than that during the moment of silence observed for President Reagan who passed away earlier that day.
I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. A sense of grief came over me that would take weeks to dissipate. I've never felt worse about a sporting event, including the Eagles' losses in the NFC Championships and the undefeated 1971 Penn basketball team going down to Villanova in the NCAA Regional Final.”
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