Jenny Kellner is an award-winning journalist and educator who has written about horse racing for more than 20 years. She has been a media specialist with NYRA for the past four years.
OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for really tall horses. You know, the ones that look like they could play center for the Knicks, who could use one. Actually, the Knicks need a lot more than a center, but that’s another blog.
Maybe it started with Forego, I don’t remember, but now, whenever I see one of those 17-hands-plus monsters, my eyes glaze over and all reason flies out the window. Long Trek, Point Given, Midnight Lute, Zenyatta, Timber Reserve, they all make the Tall Hall of Fame.
Which brings us to the latest addition: Belmont Stakes hopeful First Dude.
I was prepared not to like First Dude, who is out of the mare Run Sarah Run and named after Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, the former First Dude of Alaska. Therein lies reason enough to root against him, at least for me, but one look at First Dude dragging his diminutive exercise rider, Tammy Fox, around the grazing area, and he moved right to the top of the list.
What sealed the deal was his personality. For a horse who bears a striking resemblance to a brontosaurus, he has a completely endearing way about him, as evidenced by the no less than 15 times he stopped on his way to the track this morning to strike a pose for all the photographers and videographers who were trailing along in his wake.
“He’s a ham,” explained Fox.
Yeah – a big one.