Saturday, May 16, 2009
Updated: May 21, 1:59 PM ET
By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com
The Preakness carried anthropomorphism to new heights.
"We won," a woman in front of me at the simulcast building said.
Anthropomorphism is the interpretation of an animal in human terms. One popular example is a dog that is treated like a member of the family -- like a male dog called a "boy."
In this instance, an animal as close as you could get to a "girl" won the Preakness.
I asked as many females who would talk to me at the simulcast venue which horse they had wagered on, and to a person, they all had something on Rachel Alexandra. Not all were token souvenir bets, either. Take away the female push on the female horse, and the winner would have probably been 4-1.
Before the race, Rachel Alexandra's owner spoke of his daughters and granddaughters as providing motivation to enter the filly in the race.
Horse racing is always searching for a way to get new people to the sport.
It's hard to get them too new, as legal age rules govern wagering.
Most times, it's concerts after the races, or tote bags, or free bets used as bait for new customers. Most of those times, the new people come late for the music, or get the gift and take off.
This Preakness day, it was almost like I was in the wrong building.
New people in the simulcast hall were everywhere.
Most had come to bet the winner.
So it's obvious one way to attract new people to thoroughbred horse racing is to breed great fillies.
A table of women next to me had so many tickets on Rachel Alexandra that they stacked them according to the winning wager --exacta, win, place, whatever -- so it would be easier to make sure they got all their profit.
One winner said it was her first time to watch a Triple Crown race in a wagering establishment.
"Is it always this easy?" she asked, adding a winning ticket to a stack.
"Sometimes," I said.
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