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My Mom and the Belmont This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   The bell rings, the horses thunder down the track, and my mom's on her feet.

Every year my whole family watches the Triple Crown on television. Three racesmake up the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in May, and theBelmont in June. Only eleven horses have won all three, and each horse only getsone chance because the races are only for three-year-olds.

Last year, wewatched the Kentucky Derby with some boredom - we didn't know any of the horsesand thought it would be a quiet derby. But in the homestretch, as two horsesbattled for the lead, my mother bolted up from the sofa like a chargingracehorse. My mother is a person who cries every two years at the Olympics,especially at equestrian events.

"Come on!" she howled, notknowing exactly who she was rooting for, and not caring. "Come on, you cando it!"

Catching her enthusiasm, we all stood up and cheered as athirty-to-one shot, a bright chestnut colt named Charismatic, powered up thestretch into the lead and won. By the time they put the wreath of roses aroundhis neck, my mom had adopted him.

"Oh, he's such a good boy,"she said, wiping her eyes.

In the Preakness, we were all rooting forCharismatic, most of all my mother. She bellowed his name, pounded on the table,and thrust her hands forward as if she was riding him all the way. He didn't lether down, coming in first place again. If he won the Belmont he could join theGreats.

The day of the Belmont dawned, and as the bugle called thehorses to the track we all hunched around the television set. My mom clasped herhands nervously, her eyes fastened on the screen, as the starters loaded thehorses into the gate. The bell rang, the gates swung open and my mom was leapingto her feet, fists clenched, hollering with all her lung power. "Come on,Charismatic! You can do it!"

It looked like Charismatic had the lead.He swung around into the homestretch and we all thought he would be the nextTriple Crown champion, the first in 30 years. But something went wrong. Comingaround the last turn, he faltered. We all shouted desperately, as if we coulddrive him forward with our voices, but he was dropping back. Somewhere in thehomestretch, Charismatic had taken a bad step. He continued gamely, trying tocatch the leaders, but something was not right. The tears were flowing down mymom's face as she cried, "Come on, Charismatic! You can do it! Just holdon!"

Afterward she sank back into her chair, defeated, breathingheavily as if she had been running the race beside Charismatic. The newscasterannounced that Charismatic had broken his cannon bone, but struggled valiantly tothe finish line, coming in third. Mom was bawling by then.

"It wastoo much for him," she sobbed. "Just too much. He tried so hard, hejust tried so hard! He could have done it but those trainers put too muchpressure on him."

I tried to soothe her, saying that althoughCharismatic could never race again, he would go to a stud farm and live veryhappily. Mom smiled a little, but tears were still streaming down her face.

"But he was born to run!" she exclaimed. "He wanted to runso badly, and they just pushed him too hard! He just tried sohard!"

She pulled herself together soon afterward, though she was anocean of tears once again when the Olympics came around.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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