Saturday, June 7, 2008

Big Brown Boondoggle

Oh, my. Were I to have had the mortgage on Ed McMahon's house, I would have bet it all on Big Brown today. Were I to have had loose cash, I would have waged it all on what was a sure bet in the Triple Crown. Let's face it. The worst kept secret in all of sports this year was that Big Brown was going to be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. It was the lock of the year. And, yet, Big Brown pulled up in what should have been the greatest triumph of his career and became famous, or infamous, for a startling fact. Big Brown is the first last-place finisher of the Belmont that had previously won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Oh, this must have been God's greatest joke on those of us who had hoped to see another horse follow in the tradition of Citation, Secretariat and Seattle Slew. Like Smarty Jones four years ago, we had a horse with great promise that did not measure up. I must admit that the hoopla from the press got me excited and moved from hopeful to anxious. There's no stopping this one, every reporter would trumpet over the airwaves or publish in print or online. It is very easy to be sucked into the maelstrom of the media hype and to lose perspective, allowing disappointment to set in when hope is dashed against the pari-mutuel windows. So, until next year when the first weekend in May brings us yet another Kentucky Derby, I will endeavor to not be so easily turned into one of the mindless members of the mob whose thoughts and actions (and perhaps wagering) are shaped by the media. I'd give you five-to-one on that.

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