Yesterday, even though I had done some research, and I already knew I liked I’ll Have Another, Tom tried to talk me out of betting on the horse.
“In 137 runnings of the Kentucky Derby,” he said to me, “no horse has ever won from the 19th position.”
“Never?” I mulled this hard fact over in my mind.
I hate the word never. It is so final. I needed to get Tom to see this point from a different perspective. I said, “Mathematically, however, at some point someone will win from this position. So it’s possible?”
“Of course, it’s possible. Anything is possible.”
“Well, then today is as a good of a day as any for that streak to end,” I said.
I am someone who loves a challenge. I love the underdog; I love to root for the pitcher in a slump; I love to pull for the low seed in a tournament. I think this is the reason I love sports movies– Miracle on Ice, For the Love of the Game, Seabiscuit– Just three of the many movies I love. Movies that give me hope and make me want to be alive.
Not only did I like I’ll Have Another, it was now my solemn duty– no it was my moral obligation– to root for this horse who was going to start in the 19th position.
We went to Thistledown to watch the race. I love the track. It is such an eclectic mixture of young and old, of rich and not-so-rich, of race devotees and ignoramus fools losing money– that I find the environment very warm and inviting. No one judges anyone. Everyone does their own thing.
One of the main reasons why going to the Kentucky Derby is on my bucket list is because I secretly dream about wearing a big, ostentatious hat and not being judged for wearing it. Had I known people were going to dress like they were at Churchill, I could have fulfilled this dream. Next year, I am definitely buying a hat and joining the ranks.
By the time I went to place my bet on the Derby, all of the discussion and talk about horses like Bodemeister and Take Charge Indy scared me a little. I only put $2.00 on I’ll Have Another to win. I placed a $2.00 Win/Place/Show wager on him as well. Thus, afraid of the big loss, I missed out on the big win. Nonetheless, the pay out was $88.00.
My dream is alive. In thirteen days, I’ll Have Another will be in Baltimore for the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes. Can I’ll Have Another be the twelfth horse in history to win the Triple Crown?
A completely unrelated story. My friend got me involved in watching the College World Series of baseball about five years ago. He runs a friendly pool where eight people throw in twenty bucks and pick two teams of the final sixteen in the World Series. In 2008, one of my teams was the sixteenth seed: The Fresno State Bulldogs. Even though they didn’t have a shot in hell, I still believed.
They shocked the field and won that year. I was so proud of this team, this team I would never have paid attention to had it not been for our little wager, that I bought a T-Shirt.
Underdogs to Wonderdogs. Oh yes, It is possible.