The racing success of a colt named I'll Have Another after winning the second leg of the Triple Crown is a breath of fresh air in a time when there is not an awful lot to celebrate in our country.
To be able to see the stretch surge of this "bargain basement" horse; chewing up the ground with each stride and closing, closing, closing......is one of the most powerful images I've seen in racing in a very long time. He and his jockey are "normal" much like those of us who go about of business everyday without any fanfare or press.
To see a horse that was purchased due to a keen eye for talent for $35,000 at a thoroughbred auction (where not a lot of interest was piqued by his presence) at the edge of achieving a Triple Crown gives renewed hope to every backyard small breeder, trainer, jockey, rail bird, backside worker and dreamer that's dared to take the chance to try for success but wondered if it was attainable in this difficult and often unpredictable game against the "big guns."
Watching the crowd and the pride and anticipation on their faces when he walks the paddock and loads as they wait in anticipation for the break is something that gives me chills.
Now don't get me wrong; I've had other passionate relationships with thoroughbred horses. Barbaro, Rachel Alexandra, Bernardini; loved them all and loved to watch them race. But this colt; this colt and his jockey with the "everyman" personality. They are charming in the paddock, and, as a team they have a turn of foot that is thrilling to see. It is not surprising to see that this special colt and his jockey has the general public in the palm of his hand.
What would a Triple Crown winner mean to me? It would mean that regardless of where the horse is bred, where the jockey and connections come from and how the horse ended up at the first and second legs; that this colt brought many people in a country that doesn't have a lot of good news; together. My co-workers ask about him; a non-horsey co-worker has a picture of him hanging in her cubicle. My mailman asks me if it "might" happen. The grocery clerk (who knows of my love of the thoroughbred) asks me whether "I'll Have Another" can "do it?" All the while, these non-horsey people use this colt's actual name. The team is clearly something very special to get that response.
To see him win the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes would bring to fruition a dream for many that sometimes, just sometimes, the underdog comes out on top. It would be amazing.
-- Terry Sheerin
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