With the popularity of the books and movies “Seabiscuit” and “Secretariat,” we know the America loves horse racing. Something about witnessing the power, speed and heart of a magnificent Thoroughbred thundering down the track can really captivate a human heart.
And certainly the story of a horse that “comes from behind” to beat his favored opponent just strides before the wire, uplifts us all in a way that is difficult to describe.
Well, we may have one such horse right now. I’ll Have Another, the plain chestnut colt trained by Doug O’Neill, was not favored to win the Kentucky Derby. In fact, nobody even thought he’d place. And yet, he came out of the blue to commandingly run down the favorite, Bodemeister, in what many would later call a fluke. Maybe Bodemeister, the dominant speed horse, just went out too fast — which the shorter length of the Derby can almost encourage a young horse to do. Or maybe he just had a bad day.
Surely, Bodemeister will prove himself in the Preakness, many thought, and going into the second leg of the Triple Crown, he was still the favorite. Betters were a little keener on I’ll Have Another, making him second choice, but nobody thought he’d win.
And then, he did it again.
Bodemeister went out convincingly, and set the pace, as is his custom. He even ran conservatively, taking his lesson from the Derby, and as they came around the last turn, looked for all the world as if he couldn’t be beat. His trainer, Bob Baffert, not known for displays of unwarranted confidence, even thought he had it.
But I’ll Have Another started picking up speed, and slowly, stride by stride, ran Bodemeister down again. And the bay colt with the big white blaze didn’t challenge.
And now, not since 2008, when Big Brown won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, have we had a Triple Crown contender. And not since Affirmed in 1978 have we had a Triple Crown winner.
So on June 9th, the nation again will be captivated with the chance to make history, cheer on a great “come from behind” horse, and uplift a few human hearts.
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Last reviewed: 22 May 2012