Every couple of years or so, America falls in love with a horse. Usually, it’s a racing thoroughbred whose name and image spread throughout the land.
A few detractors, usually handicappers, disagree – but most of the general public tunes them out. We know that the real money in handicapping comes in betting the longshots. And a favorite doesn’t pay out well for bettors.
Then, hype happens. Major media catches wind of the horse, and its image spreads past the sports section. The horse joins the pop culture of the day.
Hopes and dreams ride on that horse. People who usually pay no attention to horses and racing tune in to watch. Especially during the big race.
Crowds, cheers, signs, outfits, tee shirts. Toys. Wild applause. Spectators on the edge of their seats, both at the track and on the couch.
Then the dream horse doesn’t reach the finish line first, and it’s all over. What had been cheers turns to stunned silence and sniffed-away tears. At least, that’s been the story in recent memory.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Loving horses is not for the faint of heart.
And, this time, we were lucky – in a lot of respects.