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The story jumped off the page when I cracked open the sports section of USA Today settling in for a late breakfast Friday at the Nautilus Diner in Timonium.

Reading a story about the retirement of English football (soccer) legend David Beckham quickly made me realize that it happened again. I'd come down with another case of what I've dubbed the "Triple Crown fog."

It happens every year, with every road trip for a Triple Crown race. This week it's Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes. In three weeks it'll be New York for the Belmont Stakes.

Everything seems to stand still and life in the rest of the world-aside from what goes on inside the fences at the racetrack's world of its own-goes on without even a casual notice.

I guess it's a good thing to be so focused on the task at hand-good at least for people kind enough to read your stuff.

Probably, who am I kidding, it's not so good for everything else in your life. Significant others, family, friends, bills to pay, appointments to make, eating right, exercising, gas in the car, you know, just about everything you normally do.

The classics are like that. They mean that much that sometimes you miss out on what's going on around you.

One day you're getting in the car and trekking down to Baltimore and the next thing you know the alarm is blasting in your ear at 5 a.m.

Another day you're showing up at the Pimlico stakes barn just after daybreak and the next thing you know you're walking to your car after the last of a 13-race card that features seven stakes.

The fog kind of takes over, it consumes.  

One minute you're hearing President Obama is in town-he doesn't live that far away really-and the next you're asking the same person who told you, "Is he coming to the races?"

See what I mean by consume?

Thank goodness things like newspapers are still around (kids, they're the grayish colored things with words and pictures actually printed on them) so you can catch up on what's going on in the world.

Like David Beckham retiring.

Or whatever else is going on in the world.

I better get reading.