Race of the Week 2017

The Heart of the Matter: Upsets, Horses and Friendship

Blame Zenyatta 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


It is often stated, “all racehorses lose at some point.” As most racing fans are aware, Secretariat lost to Onion in the 1973 Whitney. Blame beat Zenyatta in 2010 in the Breeders Cup Classic. Man O’ War’s record reflects one loss out of 21 races - in the Sanford Memorial Stakes, he was beaten by a half-length, ironically by a horse named Upset.     


As humans, we often have our own upsets. I thought my odds of conquering the California Bar Exam on the first try were pretty darned good. I’m a halfway decent writer, I knew the law and I always had high grades in law school. I’m at even odds, right? Maybe even Wise Dan type odds  - 4/5!  


But an upset it was. It was an immense shock to NOT see my name as I typed in my special “applicant” number, just as it was a shock when Onion crossed the finish line first in 1973. I was numb. How could I have failed? I must have punched in my special code twenty times to double check. But, alas, California Bar Examiners beat me, probably only by a length or two and maybe even by just a head, but beaten nonetheless. To me, it was a monumental upset at first.  


But as I interacted and shared my disappointing news with my friends on Facebook, something really amazing happened. I should mention that most of my friends on Facebook are racing related. There are mixes of others scattered too, but a majority of my social media interactions are with racing folks. Anyway, what happened was nothing short of an incredible outpouring of support. Prior to the exam, so many people posted that they were waiting on results for me and thinking good thoughts. When the time came to check and the results were not good, people wrote really nice comments, sent me personal messages, texts and just overall, provided such a great support system for me. I thought I’d feel like the world ended, but quite frankly, I feel a bit like a beaten favorite – a disappointing performance, but I’ll live to fight another day. I’m not retired, no broken bones, and my heart’s still beating.   


Speaking of the heart, this is often what makes a beaten favorite come back and win. Man O’ War never lost again. Secretariat came back to win the Marlboro Cup, beating horses such as Riva Ridge, Cougar II, Key to the Mint and Onion.  


Similarly, I will come back in February of next year to give the California Bar Exam another shot and hopefully beat it by multiple lengths. I won’t soon forget the kindness shown to me during this journey, and especially the reminders that heart and passion are big factors in achieving goals. Many people reminded me of this, and also that the only true failure is giving up. You, my amazing friends, have the most heart of all, and I thank you from the bottom of mine for inspiring me to see this journey to completion. 


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Older Comments about The Heart of the Matter: Upsets, Horses and Friendship...

Heather,by the sound of it,it was dissapointing to you.If it were not,all it would mean was that you did not want it bad enough.From your reaction it is the farthest thing from the truth.I love the spunk,you are already pointing to February.(Maybe go with a few breeze workouts) prior to the race.No bullets(just kidding) Like Buck said,many have not passed the first time around.All that does is that when you do pass the exam.It will only taste that much sweeter.
Heather. As a lawyer, I can tell you that many great legal minds did not pass the bar the first time. Several Supreme Court Justices did not. I believe Frankfurter or Brandeis did not. So do not give up hope, you will pass it. Any one who has not taken a bar exam before cannot understand how rigorous it is. Good luck.
Heather, I may not have met you (yet...) face to face, but have gotten to know a little bit about your heart through Facebook. You may have experienced a set back as far as the Bar Exam goes, but you are 31 lengths ahead when it comes to matters of the heart. You reached out to my son in Afghanistan. To me and to my son, spoke volumes of who you are as a person.
Good for you - never give up! And Christy L, the picture is Zenyatta losing the 2010 Breeder's Cup Classic...
The photo is one of the races mentioned in the article…
The picture shown with the article is this, or similar. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/07/AR2010110704076.html
Don't understand what you are trying to say with your article based on your picture. You will pass the the Bar, but what does that have to do with the Preakness? Showing this picture because of the Clarke next week?
The really good ones only get stronger after the sting of a defeat ... You, Heather, are one of the good ones!

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