Derby Remix: Afleet Alex's feet won't fail him
"Don't wanna look up
And it be over
Don't want to wish that
I had longer
It's my time
Yeah it's my town
I pray my feet won't ever slow me down
Don't fail me now"
Though "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" by Needtobreathe focuses mainly on speed, during the 2005 Triple Crown, Afleet Alex's feet were there for him for more reasons than just being fast.
Though he fell just a bit short in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he finished a length third, behind Giacomo and Closing Argument, Afleet Alex's feet defined the rest of the series.
The Preakness (G1) could have been disastrous. For a moment at the top of the stretch, speed was secondary to balance. Afleet Alex was gaining fast, poised into the lane, just behind and outside of Scrappy T. Scrappy T veered into Afleet Alex's path. Afleet Alex stumbled. Fifteen years and hundreds of views later, it's still almost impossible to watch and expect Afleet Alex to stay up.
Every time, his feet don't fail him. Every time, jockey Jeremy Rose stays in the saddle. Every time, Afleet Alex stays on four feet, switches inside, drives clear, and wins by 4 3/4 improbable lengths.
Though Afleet Alex's Preakness was impressive for its athleticism, it would make no sense to speak of him now unless he ran a great Belmont.
He dazzled in New York. He had a clean trip that day and needed no heroics to stay on his feet. On Belmont's sweeping final bend, he unleashed a devastating turn of foot. At the head of the stretch, he made the field look like it was running a different race and won by seven triumphant lengths.
Alas, Afleet Alex looked up and saw his career over, before so many of his fans would have liked. The Belmont Stakes was his final start, and he retired in December of 2005. But, even though his connections and fans wished he could have raced at 4, no one had to wonder whether Afleet Alex made the most of his time on the track.
Derby Remix is a weekly series that crosses the lines of culture and Kentucky Derby contenders.
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