By Jim Heffernan
Famed horse racing stallion becoming old gray mare...
Here’s the latest news from June 2035.
Stallion American Pharaoh, the last horse to win the fabled Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing and regarded as one of the greatest equine athletes of all time, has decided he is transgender and will become a mare.
The 2005 Triple Crown winner, now 23 years old, “has given us every indication he would prefer to be a mare, not a stallion,” his handler Preakness Everdeen announced yesterday. “For the past several years, ever since his stud services began tapering off, AP (his stallion nickname) has been acting and reacting more and more like a mare,” she said, adding that owners and handlers see no reason why the horse shouldn’t undergo gender re-assignment surgery to accomplish that goal.
“He just wasn’t comfortable in his own hide,” Everdeen said. “His brain is much more female than male.”
“Of course we could go for gelding, but we feel we owe it to him to take it all the way to mare and let him live out his years with the sexual identification he has wanted for so long,” said Everdeen, herself a transgender ex-jockey formerly known as Willie Horseshoemaker.
The stable announced that henceforth American Pharaoh will be known as Cleopatra. “She’s sticking with the Egyptian theme,” said the handler.
Word of the horse’s sex change shocked the horseracing world. As American Pharaoh, Cleopatra was the last horse to win the Triple Crown of racing 20 years ago this month. Before that it had been 37 years since the horse Affirmed won all three races.
News of the change was kept under wraps until it was announced in a cover story in a popular track magazine, Paddocks and Stables, although it had been rumored in horseracing circles for some time.
Racing reporter John Belmont Stakesworthy said recently he confirmed the rumor after contacting the horse’s long-time trainer Howard Mane, who said he had passed it on to the ex-jockey Preakness Everdeen (formerly Willie Horseshoemaker). “The jockey, of course, passed it on to the horse, and the horse told me.”