Could it be true – a Triple Crown winner this year? Will we see purple and white atop a prancing chestnut thoroughbred parading around the winner’s circle? I am so excited with the possibility! Why? Well, here’s my story on that.
I have always loved horses. No, I did not grow up on a horse farm, and I am not an expert on horses. But I love this animal in God’s creation. My paternal grandfather raised Shetland ponies, and the highlight for me whenever we visited was to ride them. I loved the names he picked for each one. My two favorite names were Queenie (that “princess” thing you know) and Pabst Blue Ribbon (which he shortened to “Pabst”). Although I forgave her, I still remember the time Candy bit my stomach just because I stroked her back as she ate. (I probably shouldn’t have done that; but like I said, I’m not a horse expert. How was I to know?) I remember that it made me sick to my stomach but it didn’t stop me from loving the ponies. Grandpa hooked up his pony team to this neat little wagon for local parades – his version of the Clydesdales marching proudly.
I rode behind my cousins on gentle-natured Rockabye Red (“Rocky” – a much larger horse) through the hills and streets of southern California. My life-long best friend, Cheryl, owned horses. She was experienced and daring. I wanted to ride at a moderate, safe pace. She enjoyed coaxing a gallop, at which time I hung onto the reins for dear life.
Although I didn’t see the need to run for the roses personally, I sure enjoyed watching horse racing growing up – the competition and admiring each one’s strength and beauty. As a teenager, I watched Secretariat win the Triple Crown which made the country buzz. What, you say, a horse racing story? Yes! “Secretariat” is one of my favorite stories because of the story behind the story of the incredible horse. I highly recommend the movie if you want to be inspired.
A friend recently suggested that I watch “Seabiscuit” – a movie filmed in 2003. Although I know parts of the story, I have never seen the movie. When I ordered it, I was impressed with this synopsis: “true story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation” – my point exactly! (Here I go again talking about hope.) I believe God uses things such as this to sprinkle a little joy and hope into our society. Sometimes we simply don’t give Him credit for it.
Secretariat succeeded in winning the Triple Crown after a 25-year drought. Secretariat was a celebrity, and the nation was proud. Who would have thought that in the same decade we would have two more winners back-to-back in 1977 and 1978 with Seattle Slew and Affirmed? I followed the races both years. The story behind the story that amazed me in 1978 was the boy jockey, Steve Cauthen. He rode like an experienced champion in his pink jacket and secured his place in horse racing history. Having watched all of the Triple Crown races in 1977 and 1978, I thought perhaps this was the new trend. But no, others have challenged without success – a 34-year drought. It seems most writers and experts believe it takes a little luck (which I prefer to call “God favor”) along with determination, talent, and training.
When I watch the replays of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness, it’s thrilling to see I’ll Have Another forge through to catch up and overtake the leader. He seems to have the will to win. So the question might be: will he be kissed with “God favor” on Saturday? Will this be the year? I smile at my grandpa’s choosing of names for his ponies just as I appreciate the creativity in selecting names for the famous race horses. This year’s hopeful has a fun, catchy, and perhaps prophetic name.
This week is business as usual – a job to be done, bills to pay, problems to solve (some we can, some we can’t); and my copy of “Seabiscuit” just arrived. So I think I’ll indulge in some couch potato time, be inspired, and re-fuel my hope tank. And on Saturday, June 9, I, for one, will watch and cheer because I think it’s high time for I’ll Have Another to have another so that we can all have another.