Published in the August 7, 2015 edition

Dear Friends:

I am the somewhat good guy who wrote Sports Editor Jennifer Gentile a story back in June about a phone “conversation” I had with the horse, American Pharaoh, following his dramatic win in racing’s Triple Crown, the first time it happened in 37 years.

Jennifer really liked my story and printed the whole thing in a prominent place in the Sports Section of the June 26 edition of the paper.

At the time of that dramatic victory, Jennifer told me that she would be gone for a couple of months but I did not expect to have any more “conversations” with the horse as the general feeling was that his owner and trainer would probably not let him race again until the Breeders’ Cup which is held annually in September or October.

All of that changed a week ago when Monmouth Park in New Jersey announced it had invited American Pharaoh to participate in a special $1.75 million dollar race which was held on Sunday, Aug. 2. As a result, there was tremendous interest in the race. It was nationally televised and American Pharaoh won rather easily.

Of course I had to initiate another “conversation” with the talkative steed, so here it is. From the reactions I received after the publication of the initial story, your readers really seemed to like the idea of a talking horse. I hope you will find room to print this latest story.

Best Wishes

Dave Norton


D.N. Hi Champ! Remember me? We talked after your Triple Crown win a Belmont Park

A.P. Sure I remember you. You’re the guy from Boston, right? You’re the only one that asked me about my historic victory.

D.N. Thanks for remembering. And now here you are with another win in your next race.

A.P. Well I thought my owner and trainer would wait until the Breeders’ Cup, but they noticed that this million dollar plus race (whatever that means) was against three year olds and they knew I could handle them.

D.N. And you won today’s (Aug. 2) Haskell Race rather easily?

A.P. Well I thought Victor (his jockey) started our famous stretch drive a little early but he just whispered in my ear on the final turn: Let’s Go!” so we took off!

D.N. Great job — a very impressive win. But what about all this traveling you’re doing? Doesn’t that tire you out?

A.P. Oh no. We fly everywhere and we always go First Class — more leg room and the food is terrific!

D.N. (Great — I finally get to interview a champion horse and he turns out to be a jokester). So had you been training hard for this race.

A.P. Not too hard. My trainer looked at the entry list and figured we could handle this group if we could avoid a traffic jam at the break.

D.N. So you must be quite a hero these days in the stable area?

A.P. Well as a matter of fact, a funny thing happened there this week.

D.N. Your public always likes to hear about events in the stable area. Tell me about it.

A.P. Well, we were all out on the track for the early morning exercise run one day, and my old pal, Jocko, remember him?

D.N. Sure, your stable pony Buddy.

A.P. That’s the guy. He trotted up alongside me and said: “Watch out, pal — the Old Gray Mare is looking for you!” That’s the affectionate name we give to Miss Whirly. That great horse, Whirlaway, was part of her breeding line, and old Missy never lets us forget it.

D.N. So get on with it — what happened?

A.P. Well, Miss Whirly nudged Jocko out of the way and greeted me with a “Hey, big shot!” slate. I kind of guessed what was coming next.

D.N. Sounds like a challenge might be in the offing.

A.P. Hey! You Boston guys are pretty sharp!

D.N. So what did Old Whirly have in mind?

A.P. Oh she raved on about what a fast filly she had been at my age, and how she’d like to test me out over a short distance of ground where I never race and she thought she could teach me a lesson.

D.N. I hope you told her to forget about it.

A.P. Well, I probably should have just laughed it off, but I was trapped somewhat. If I said NO, the word would get out in in the stable area that was afraid of the Old Gray Mare, and if I said YES and she beat me, The Racing Form folks would write me off and my future stud fees would be decimated.

D.N. (I suddenly realized I’m talking with a horse that uses four syllable words!). So what happened? You’re driving me crazy!

A.P. Well, when I hesitated responding to the challenge, she needled me a little bit. She reminded me that her great, great, great grand sire (or something like that), Whirlaway, had won the Triple Crown in 1941.

D.N. So now you couldn’t resist meeting her challenge?

A.P. Exactly. I was stuck. So we staged a quick two furlong sprint right then and there and the old gal gave me a spirited battle. But I wasn’t about to lose to her after beating the best three year olds in the world.

D.N. Wow! You had me worried there for a minute, but as we say in my world: “All’s well that ends well.” Good luck in the Breeders’ Cup.

A.P. Thanks. Always good talking with you. I’ll be expecting your call.