In addition to being a writer, I also have another side business. My husband and I breed and raise Thoroughbred horses. Nothing on a big scale. We're just a little "Mom and Pop operation." So you can probably understand why I'm deep in the doldrums of another year of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown being within the grasp of a great horse...only to once again see it fall through the cracks like spent fairy dust.
In the weeks leading up to the the Kentucky Derby--the first of three races to earn the Triple Crown-- it seemed like a Cinderella story of the nth degree was unfolding. California Chrome rose from the ranks of obscurity to win race after race brilliantly, a $10,000 investment who took on the millionaires--and beat the britches off them. A champion who hailed, not from the hallowed hills of Kentucky, but from California's central valley, with an obscure sire and a dam who had only won one minor race, two owners who were newbies to the game, a jockey who had already been denied a past Triple Crown win, and a trainer who had never come close to getting a horse all the way to The Derby before.
He drew Secretariat's post position in the Preakness, and again, he won convincingly. The buzz became a roar.
It was an omen, right?
It seemed the stars had, indeed, aligned.
The Force was strong in this one!
Just one more race to go to grab that elusive crown: The mighty, mighty Belmont Stakes. A grueling mile-and-a-half distance--one of the longest in flat racing. He was training spectacularly leading up to the race, and described as running "like a monster."
drew Secretariat's post position in the last leg.
Now it seemed more than a mere omen.
It was a sign--a sign that this, at long last, was the horse we'd been waiting for. Few people had any doubt he would win it all and become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Many were even whispering that other "S" word.
And he truly looked and was that horse.
Until the moment he lost.
Once again the big dream crashed and burned.
While I was moping about post-race on Saturday with that terrible, sinking feeling in my belly, I realized this was not a new emotion to me. I'd been there before. Many, many times.
It's not so different being a writer, que no?
Yes, we're all survivors of the long campaign. Battle-hardened veterans of the War of Disappointments and Denials. Victims of the highs of *almost* achieving the dream, only to have it ripped away.
The upside? And yes, there is one.
Never give up. Never surrender.
Just grit your teeth and run your race.
Have a great week.