The 148th Kentucky Derby was a real head-scratcher…or was it? Let us expound upon a theory that should have told us all how this miraculous mile and a quarter was going to unfold.
As a believer in the omens of horse racing, this sport oftentimes mirrors the game of life. Usually a happy place, the track can give us joy on many levels, especially on Kentucky Derby day.
Of course, we kick things off with fashion. An integral part of the game, dressing to the nines or in some provocative and classy manner is a big part of the fun. Looking good means you are feeling good as you walk through the turnstiles. Once inside and with a beverage in hand, it becomes obvious others have brought the bling as well, which is how it rolls in this game.
As we marvel at human magnificence, the competitive presence of the athletes is a real jaw-dropper. Four-legged masses of muscle, these Thoroughbreds are beautiful creatures. Exuding joy as they are excited to do what they were born to do, their human companions need not get in the way. Watching them parade around the paddock provides a sense of the power pulsing through their veins. Then as they flow from the starting gates and reach speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour, there is a better understanding of their athletic prowess.
The monetary speculation on the sport is another of the many positive layers we enjoy. Trying to figure the outcome is oftentimes overthought as numbers and theories abound. In the end, no one really knows what’s going to happen as one person is guessing the same as another. But oh my, the hunt for the euphoria that ticket cashing brings is a thrill in its own right.
So now that we have engaged in several paragraphs of philosophical Hillbilly rhetoric…what the heck is the point ???
Rich Strike was an 80 to 1 shot that wasn’t even going to run in the Kentucky Derby until a very late defection created a spot. Very few thought he belonged and even fewer gave him a chance to win. A perfect storm brewed when a trainer did an outstanding job, a rider took advantage of every break he got in the race, and an athlete performed to his utmost capabilities. Hats off to Eric Reed for his conditioning job, Sonny Leon for an excellent ride, and of course Rich Strike who did his upset-minded pappy (Keen Ice) proud.
Here is where we come full circle. All 147,294 people in attendance and everyone who participated in the record $168.8 million wagered on the race got paid. Now, not many cashed a ticket ($163.60 on a $2 win ticket, $161,630 on a 20-cent pick 6), but there were dividends in so many other ways. If you didn’t Strike it Rich maybe you were doing something wrong. Perhaps it was the new people you met, the tickets you cashed on other races or the reassurance that all things are possible if you work hard and do the right things. For the first time in two years, it was a “normal” Kentucky Derby, and that in itself was a big payoff. This is the sport of kings and all participants were kings for a day.
So, when you consider all Kentucky Derby day offers and the omens of horse racing, shouldn’t Rich Strike be a natural selection? Almost like his win was poetic justice for man and horse kind….Hmmmmmmmmm