Equine love – the Preakness and Old Salem Farm’s Spring Horse Shows

Well, what a weekend for horse lovers. The main event is, of course, the running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg in the Triple Crown, at Pimlico in Baltimore on Saturday, May 16. NBC will be going live at 4:30 p.m. EDT, with post-time set for 6:20 p.m.

Will American Pharoah become the first horse since my beloved Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown? Or will Firing Line and Dortmund, his Kentucky Derby rivals, overtake him in the run for the black-eyed Susans? Or will it be the proverbial dark horse?

We can’t say for sure. That’s what makes it a horse race, as they say – and an inspiration for “Criterion,” the third planned novel in my series “The Games Men Play.”

The 6:20 post-time gives folks in the New York metro area plenty of time to enjoy the elegant yin to horse racing’s thunderous yang – the Spring Horse Shows at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, which conclude Sunday, May 17.

The Spring Shows, which are awarding nearly $500,000 in prize money, feature professional and junior riders in hunter competitions, which judge the horse’s form over lower obstacles that you might encounter on a hunt; jumper events, which focus on speed and accuracy; and equitation, which considers the rider’s performance. (Only jumping is an Olympic sport.)

“I like to say jumper is like hockey while hunter is like figure skating,” says Michel Vaillancourt, who won an individual silver medal in his home country at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. (The former chef d’équipe, or coach, of the Canadian Equestrian Team, Vaillancourt designed the jumper course for the first week of the Spring Shows.) But you don’t have to know a paddock from a pasture to enjoy the graceful partnership of rider and horse or the chance to watch the action with family, friends and pets on the rolling grass or to meet various vendors.

It’s always a good time down at Old Salem Farm.

Live streaming of all events Friday-Sunday each week will be available at with simulcast available at and Tickets are available for purchase at