York County is about to get its annual brush with the Triple Crown.
The Preakness Stakes is set for Saturday evening at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, located just 50 miles south of Continental Square.
Each May, local folks who don't normally follow the "Sport of Kings" will pay close attention to what happens in Charm City.
More than a few Yorkers will venture down I-83 to Pimlico itself to be part of the 100,000-plus fans who create a carnival-like atmosphere at the legendary 143-year-old track. Many others will stay local and watch the contest at York's off-track wagering facility on Route 30. Most will park themselves in front of televisions in their homes or at their favorite neighborhood watering hole.
A good number of them will put a few dollars (or even a few hundred dollars) on their thoroughbred of choice.
But even those who don't have a betting interest in the race will still watch to see if Kentucky Derby winner Orb can earn the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Winning the Triple Crown, you see, has become one of the most elusive achievements in sports. It's been done just 11 times since 1919 and hasn't been done at all since Affirmed turned the trick in 1978. That's a 35-year drought -- the longest in Triple Crown history.
Can Orb end that dry spell?
We'll find out Saturday.
But that's not the only storyline that Yorkers should follow this week.
Area angle: They should also keep a close eye on Rosie Napravnik, a 113-pound dynamo who a few years back was a student at Hereford High School in Parkton, Md., which is little more than a stone's throw from York County.
Napravnik will try to make horse-racing history on Saturday. She will try to become the first female jockey to win the Preakness. She's just the third woman ever to even ride in the race. Neither of the previous women riders could crack the top five.
The 25-year-old Napravnik has become a bit of a sensation in the horse-racing community. She's been featured on "60 Minutes" and The New York Times magazine. She even has an endorsement deal with Snickers.
She's also a well-known figure in Maryland horse-racing circles. She began her racing career in 2005 at Pimlico at age 17 under the initials A.R. -- for Anna Rose -- so people wouldn't know she was a woman jockey. By 2006 she'd won 300 races and riding titles at Pimlico and Laurel.
She has since moved to other tracks across the nation, including New York, Louisiana and Delaware. In 2012, she became the first woman to win the Kentucky Oaks for standout 3-year-old fillies.
On May 4, at the 2013 Derby, she rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish -- the best-ever by a female jockey, breaking her own record set in 2011, when she rode Pants on Fire to ninth place at Churchill Downs.
Now, in a few days, she'll ride Mylute again in the hopes of becoming just the second woman ever to win a Triple Crown race. Julie Krone was the first in 1993 at the Belmont Stakes on Colonial Affair.
Mylute figures to be one on the favorites on the morning line behind Orb, which bested Napravnik's horse by four lengths at a muddy Derby.
Can Napravnik find a way to make up those four lengths at Pimlico?
It's another question that will be answered Saturday.
And it's another reason that plenty of Yorkers should be glued to their televisions for the 6:20 p.m. post time.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com.