Friday, June 8, 2012

I'll Have Another... Please?

Yes, I've seen the news.  I know that I'll Have Another will not be racing in the Belmont tomorrow.

As is often the case, this post was written a day or two before it was published.  I scheduled it to go live at 10:01 AM today, never expecting that by the time it appeared I'll Have Another's racing career would be over.  

I considered pulling the post since it's fairly irrelevant now.  However, I've decided to leave it up, partly because I like it but also because it's less about the horse and more about the wait.

And that wait...  Sigh.  It just goes on and on and on.

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I was nine years old the last time a horse won the Triple Crown.
That horse was Affirmed and he was my hero.  I cut his pictures out of the paper and hung them on my bedroom wall. 
I drew pictures of him, 
 wrote essays about him,
and even talked my parents into taking me to Santa Anita to see him! 
Affirmed was not the only horse to win the Triple Crown during the 1970's.  In fact, he was the third, coming hot on the heels of Seattle Slew (1977) and Secretariat (1973).  Three winners in the span of just six years caused some observers to speculate that the Crown was losing its luster.  What had once seemed like a nearly impossible achievement was becoming commonplace, even mundane.

I didn't buy that.  Even though I had been a racing fan for less than a year, it was clear to me that only a super horse could win the Triple Crown.  Since Affirmed was obviously the best and most perfect horse ever, I resented any suggestion that winning the Triple was anything less than a monumental and historically significant feat.

Because was so obsessed with securing Affirmed's place in the record books, I actively rooted against the next couple horses who won both the Derby and the Preakness.

In retrospect, I think some to those horses--including Spectacular Bid--would have been worthy of the Crown.  But others, like Pleasant Colony?  Not so much.
After each losing Belmont, I'd triumphantly pull out my battered copy of The Triple Crown Winners... 
and record the horse's information on the Two Thirds Club page. 
This tradition continued well into the 1980's.  Eventually, however, I realized that enough time had passed.  I was ready to see another Triple Crown winner.  I stopped entering the losers in my book, and I began rooting for any horse who stood even the slightest chance of adding his name to the list of winners.
Tomorrow, I'll Have Another will attempt to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in thirty four years. 
I'll be rooting for him!

5 comments:

  1. Sorry.
    http://msn.foxsports.com/horseracing/story/ill-have-another-scratched-from-belmont-stakes-060812

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  2. I just came home from riding and saw the news.

    Obviously, it's better to scratch him than have him break down during the race, but... DAMN!

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  3. I was at work, preparing for a meeting, whey phone suddenly blew up with texts from several friends telling me he was scratched. I am just so sad. I really thought this might be The One.

    Your Affirmed essay cracks me up. I gave a speech in high school Spanish class (in Spanish) about Seattle Slew!

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  4. I had a gut feeling that somehow we wouldn't have a Triple Crown winner. It's a shame it had to be like this, but it's better than almost any possible ending had he set foot on the track.

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  5. Obviously, we'll never know, but I think that had he run, we more than likely would have had a Triple Crown winner. Not taking anything away form Union Rags or Paynter who both ran their hearts out, but... that race was fairly slow. At the top of his game, I'll Have Another is better than that.

    Of course it's all coulda, woulda, shoulda. He didn't run so he didn't win and the wait goes on.

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