A Horse named Goliath

By on September 1, 2015

Joe Namath, Rudy and Mike Eurizone / 1980 USA Men’s hockey team.

 America has long been intrigued with the underdog.

Horse racing is one of  America’s most fascinating sports.  Who looks at a horse and says, “What an ugly animal?”  How many people have you heard say, “I hate horses?” Quite the contrarian  would.  More people say, “I love horses,” or “Horses are beautiful animals.”

Keen Ice (7) and American Pharaoh (2) (Amber Chalfin /Down the Stretch Photos)

Keen Ice (7) and American Pharaoh (2)
(Amber Chalfin /Down the Stretch Photos)

Let’s augment America’s fascination with horse racing and America’s intrigue with the underdog.  Intrigue with the underdog… Does it just make the competition more valuable to have an occasional victory by the outmatched underdog?   Is it that most Americans view themselves as an underdog and dream of being a champion?

Keen Ice with Javier Castellano (Amber Chalfin / Down the Stretch Photos)

Keen Ice with Javier Castellano (Amber Chalfin / Down the Stretch Photos)

Whether its at the Orange Bowl, Notre Dame or Lake Placid  it started with a thought. If everything starts with a thought then this thought must be belief.  Are there different levels of belief?  I would think that every athlete wants to and thinks they could win. (random thought alert)    It makes me stop and think… do horses think?

As far as athletes, at times some must want to win and others really believe they will. A stalwart belief they will win when all the odds stacked against them.

In the horse racing world, the battle royal is,  the jockey or the horse, who actually won?  Again, do  the horses think?  (side note: Travis,  we need a  horse vet or horse psychologist on the show.)

FORWARD TO August 29, 2015: a Saturday afternoon in beautiful Saratoga, New York.  It is the 2015 Travers with Goliath, I mean America Pharaoh,  in post position 2.  What kind of horse has winning odds of 1 to 5?  My initial thought is maybe a triple crown winner named, ah, Goliath? 1 to 5? 1 to 5!  Nine other jockeys went to the gates along with Victor Espinoza who was atop American Pharaoh (Goliath for purposes of this story).  So what’s Vic thinking? Goliath is Derby winner, Peakness winner, Belmont winner, first triple crown since long before the commencement of the smart phone. I got this.  What’s Julien Leparoux in post number 9 thinking?  King of New York, hey we’re 50 to 1, we’re in New York, yea ok…  hope for a miracle.  Bring in the conversation Joel Rosario and Frosted, who was 4th in Louisville and the bridesmaid in Elmont. Well this can certainly happen… but the Goliath like American Pharaoh is 1 to 5,  1 to 5!  So I think… Who would bet $2.00 to win $0.40?!  Have to be the surest thing ever, right?

Now, Javier Castellano and Keen Ice.  This horse can run.  A show in the Belmont, hey in the money you have to have a vote of confidence. But did I mention, American Pharaoh was 1 to 5!  But was something different in post number 7?  Namath, Rudy, Mike Eurizone I think these guys really believed.  And so must have Castellano. Did Keen Ice believe? The confidence and belief to know in your heart you can really win, beat any competition, with all odds stacked against you.

What I found most exciting, it not that Keen Ice with Javier Castellano won the 2015 Travers.  If I was told it happened it would have been OK. But behold the way the 2015 Travers finish unfolded,  in the final seconds,  literally made America’s fascination with horse racing and its intrigue with the underdog meet a exactly at a precise moment in time when Keen Ice crossed the finish line ahead of  American Pharaoh Goliath.


And so the American story goes and goes… root for the underdog and  horses are just beautiful animals.

2015 Travers Champion KEEN ICE (Amber Chalfin / Down the Stretch Photos)

2015 Travers Champion KEEN ICE
(Amber Chalfin / Down the Stretch Photos)

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