By Valerie Grash, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Growing up, I was a typical tomboy, horse-crazy to the extreme. Aren’t most little girls? At age three, I rode my first pony at the county fair, and all through my youth I haunted the neighboring horse farms in my southwestern Pennsylvania town, eager to muck a stall or groom a horse in exchange for a ride. Addicted to books, I daydreamed of being Alec Ramsey, racing The Black against Cyclone and Sun Raider, or Velvet Brown riding The Pie in the Grand National.
Eventually, I grew up, the daydreaming stopped, and reality set in. Now I am in academia, a tenured university professor teaching art history, a job that I love. Horse racing, however, remains a passion that I never outgrewâ€”just took a break from for nearly 20 years. Growing up in the 1970s, I was spoiled by the likes of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Alydar, Forego, and Spectacular Bid, as well as Chris Evert, Susan’s Girl, Our Mims, Davona Dale, and Ruffian. As an adult, I consider myself both a fan and a student of the sport, always studying its rich history as well as the intricacies of breeding and pedigrees. However, that doesn’t stop me from occasionally betting on a hunch or a silly name! And I still fall in love with horses nearly every day.