I believe that this year, there will be a Triple Crown Winner.
It sounds far-fetched, I know, but I believe that it will happen. A colt is going to sweep the racing stakes – he’s going to take the Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. He is going to outrun every other horse on the track, a tiny, outrageously dressed jockey bouncing wildly up and down on his back. And he will fly through those final furlongs like Man-of-War himself.
Unfortunately, statistics are not in my favor. It’s been nearly 40 years since a horse has taken all three races. But I believe that it’s finally going to happen.
Why? Because I was raised to.
Ever since I was little, the Kentucky Derby has been a big deal. My grandparents come from all the way across town to eat ham and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, putting up with three hours or so of pre-race specials featuring famous celebrities flaunting their hats as they endorse different foundations and charity groups. Then, as a family, we join in for a rousing chorus of “My Old Kentucky Home” – always ending with my grandmother in tears – followed by fifteen minutes of sports announcers going over the different odds for each horse as the respective colts line up at the gates. And then, finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the horses erupt from their gates in a blur of brown hair and colorful silk. It’s the most thrilling two minutes of sports in the entire year.
And then, nearly as soon as it begins, it’s over. Kaput. Finished. And we’re sitting there, blinking, still clutching one another while the adrenaline begins to fade. By then the ham is cold, the announcers have gotten boring, and my grandparents are edging suspiciously towards the door.
I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up. The competition is so fierce and the horses are so strong and a Triple Crowner hasn’t happened for so long…the odds are that the Derby-winning horse won’t even go on to win the Preakness or the Belmont. After all, not every Thoroughbred on the track is a Seattle Slew. We can’t all be Triple Crowners. It’s just not probable.
But it is possible.
It’s possible that there will be another Citation. It’s possible that the victory of Regret will physically manifest itself in the Preakness. It’s possible that this year three separate garlands of roses will be placed around only one horse’s neck.
I’ve been brought up to believe that every year will be the year it finally happens, even though for the past 14 years I’ve been let down. But that’s just the way I was raised – to believe in the improbable. After all, I can’t very well deny the fact that the odds of getting a Triple Crowner are slim. But nevertheless, I believe that it will happen.
I guess this means I’ll be placing my bet on Big Brown.
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