The verdict is in on the (awesome) Turnpike Troubadours record. Read the Ruralicity review on the blog. Link in profile. #turnpiketroubadours #newmusic #goodmusic #countrymusic #reddirt #reddirtmusic #fiddle Photo courtesy Justin Voight.

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This is Havre de Grace, the morning before she beat the boys in the 2011 Woodward. Today, another great racehorse takes to the track at #Saratoga. Are you watching? Link in profile. #horse #horseracing #horses #americanpharoah #travers #saratogasprings #saratogaracetrack

What is #sorghum and how can you eat in #DC? #Ruralicity checks out this old-school #Southern food. Link in profile. #goodeats #biscuits #molasses #Alexandria #South

What is #sorghum and how can you eat in #DC? #Ruralicity checks out this old-school #Southern food. Link in profile. #goodeats #biscuits #molasses #Alexandria #South

Friday Tunes new music roundup is out! Catch up on the best tracks from #SomethingMoreThanFree, the new Lindi Ortega, Watkins Family Hour and Turnpike Troubadours albums, and more! Link in profile. Photo courtesy David McClister/All Eyes Media. #newmusic #newmusicfridays #newmusicfriday #americana #goodtunes #music

Only in Virginia can one watch Civil War reenactors simultaneously drill and drink fancy wine at a vineyard. Highly recommended. Link in profile. #wine #winetasting #winery #virginiawine #virginia #civilwar #reenactment #reenacting #reenactor #stonewalljackson
Only in Virginia can one watch Civil War reenactors simultaneously drill and drink fancy wine at a vineyard. Highly recommended. Link in profile. #wine #winetasting #winery #virginiawine #virginia #civilwar #reenactment #reenacting #reenactor #stonewalljackson
There is an incredibly cool program at the James River Correctional Facility that pairs inmates and racehorses and you should check it out. Link in profile. #racehorse #thoroughbred #retiredracehorse #corrections #inmate #racing #feelgoodfriday
#ICYMI there"s a few good reasons to get out of town and visit the #rappahannockriver. Check out the blog for a love song to a #rural route #river! Link in profile. #fishing #sailing #country #countrylife #redneckriviera #oysters #freshveggies
Where can you find this old-school pitstop, two hours outside of #DC? Head over to Ruralicity and find out. Link in profile. #pitstop #rappahannock #rappahannockriver #countrystore #milkshake #oldschool #roadtrip #highway #backwoods
How much is American Pharoah"s semen worth and other things you want to know about tomorrow"s Belmonns

The Thoroughbred horse-racing industry, which dominated my life from the age of 16 to the age of around 25, was a career that in practical terms meant I spent a lot of time talking about horse libido, gambling and getting up at 3 AM to pick up the poop of an animal whose left leg was worth more than my entire life’s savings. I learned a lot of valuable lessons:

Driving stick on the wrong side of the road is fine as long as you’re not on a Irish two-lane where people drive like insane juggernauts with no reasonable human fearThe ruler of Dubai speaks ENTIRELY IN HAWK ALLEGORIES;also,don’t ever accept jet rides from the 22nd richest man in Canada because he is probably a sexual predatorA great lede sets the scene (thanks Sean),a good-looking horse is a balanced horse(thanks to both Graves boys) and the only good kangaroo is a dead one (thankyou, all of Australia)How to handicap, sort of

Most of those things I will probably use again at some point in my life, but so far, my ability to assess the ability and value of a racehorse with a reasonable degree of accuracy has done me absolutely no good in my current life as a health-care journalist. Except when Triple Crown rolls around and everybody wants to know what’s up.

Here, in no particular order, are the questions I get asked most frequently about the Triple Crown.

PS: Post time for the Belmont is 6:50 PM on Saturday. I was planning on heading to the Brixton, which is showing the race live on all three floors and encouraging floppy hats—but as it turns out, I have Momma Williams in town and I feel like the Brix’s usual drunk 20-something crowd may not be as charming to Virginia racing’s former chief regulator as it is to me. I’m thinking I’m going to take her to Jack Rose instead, so friends, feel free to join. She’s a much better handicapper than I am, anyway.

Why haven’t we had a Triple Crown winner in so long.

The simple answer to this is that it’s an incredibly grueling series of races ran overa very short time period. Outside of the Triple Crown, modern Thoroughbreds will practically never run three races in a little over a month. The best of the best might only run half a dozen times in an entire year.

Some people argue that the breed isn’t as tough as it used to be. Between the last Triple Crown winner in 1978 and now, Thoroughbred breeding became a commercial industry, not just the hobby of the ultra-rich. Unraced yearlings are making millions in the auction ring based on their pedigrees and their physique, and stallions have six-digit stud fees. Some suggest that people are breeding horses for the auction ring, not the racetrack, and that the breed has suffered as a result. It’s the same criticism that people levy on registered show dog breeders.

Others argue that breeders have bred too heavily for speed over stamina, making the marathon distance of the Belmont impossible for a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby:

The Belmont is kind of an anachronism for modern racehorses. It’s the longest race in the series at 1 ½ miles—a distance that most of these horses have never run and will never run again. It’s actually considered a hit against a horse’s commercial value if he wins this race but can’t succeed over shorter distances because it suggests that he doesn’t have any speed, just stamina. And friends, speed sells: Most breeders are trying to select matings that will produce horses that will excel over the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 ¼ miles. That extra quarter-mile may not sound like a big difference, but you’ll hear professional trainers and “bloodstock” agents talking about a race being even an 1/8th of a mile too far. Think of it this way: Usain Bolt probably couldn’t beat Paula Radcliffe in a marathon.

Is American Pharoah going to win.

See more: How Much Is 30 $20 Bills Worth? How Much Money Is A Pound Of $20 Bills

ICYMI, a horse named American Pharoah won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, giving him a chanceat sporting immortality. And the wide consensus is: He’s got a shot, but it’s not a done deal.

Here’s what American Pharoah has going for him:

He’s obviously an exceptional athlete. In a seven-race career, he has only lost one race (his very first), and five of those victories were in the top tier of American races.He has only run four times this year—what racing people call “lightly raced”—meaning that he might not be too run down by the Triple Crown grind. Most of the gossip reports from Belmont say he has trained well between the Preakness and the Belmont. American Pharoah likes to run on the front end. He wants to get out in front of the competition early and stay there. That’s a running style that has won this race for other Triple Crown winners in the past: Affirmed, Seattle Slew andSecretariat all went wire-to-wire.

Here’s what might work against him:

His Preakness victory looked really impressive, but the huge rainstorm that happened right before the race probably gave him an edge. American Pharoah loves the mud, but much of his competition that day did not. Of course, if it happens to rain tomorrow, this could work in his favor again... There are a couple of horses in American Pharoah’s pedigree that aren’t known for providing stamina. There is some concern that American Pharoah won’t “get the distance.” But like every other horse in here, the distance is an unknown. The horse that won this race last year was by a stallion that most racing professionals said couldn’t make winners past 1 ⅛ miles. A mile and a half later, they were wrong. Three races in a little over a month is just hard. I want to make money. Who should I bet.