It happens every year. Not long after the Kentucky Derby winner enters the Winner's
Circle at Churchill Downs, the hype starts. Over the next 14 days an overabundance of articles get written, putting
the Derby winner on a pedestal higher than any of his/her peers.
Regardless of the circumstances, whether the betting
favorite or longshot, horse racing fans and media hungry for a Triple Crown
winner toss logic, ignoring any negative signs but accentuating the positive.
This year the overwhelming positive sign occurred on the
Monday (May 13) of Preakness Week at Belmont Park. Derby winner Orb turned in a stellar workout (4 f in
47 flat). It wasn’t the time but how effortlessly he did it that drew praise from
his trainer, Shug McGaughey, using
superlatives that he rarely utters when talking about one of his horses. And
everyone took the bait.
From that point on, you couldn’t find a soul who was willing
to publicly support one of the other unsuspecting 3-year-olds who didn’t stand
a chance against the second coming of Secretariat.
They were simply running for second purse money.
Well the unthinkable happened, Orb lost. He ran a disappointing 4th
while Oxbow, who finished 6th
in the Derby, took the Preakness
field gate to wire.
Off at odds of 15-1, many were speechless. What a fluke! What
a horrible race? Why was it so horrible? Maybe because they didn’t see it
How could this have happened?! Here’s how…
Step 1: Arrive
early… at least five (5) days before the race.
Step 2: Take in
the fresh air around your temporary surroundings
Step 3: Sample
the local greens
Step 4: Trust
your Hall of Fame trainer by getting to the track early…
Step 5: …he knows
what's best, which keeps you “on the muscle” AFTER a jog
Step 6: Have
close friends by your side
Step 7: Put on your Game Face as you enter the paddock
Step 8: Let a Hall of Fame jockey come along for the ride
Step 9: Stay calm
and conserve energy before the race
Step 10: Strut
your stuff letting the world know they underestimated your ability
Photo credits: Gary "GQ" Quill and Chris "The Dark Horse" Sorenson