In stark contrast to that somber crowd was me just a-hootin' and a-hollerin' and pumping my fist in the air with all the vigor I could muster. In a rare moment of prescience two hours previous to this scene I had placed a $5 win bet on every horse in the race that was not named Big Brown. Considering the extremely short odds on the favorite and the very long odds on the rest of the field I felt I just couldn't lose. Well, unless Big Brown had won, that is. Or, unless his closest competitor Denis of Cork running at 6-1 had won. Most fortunately for me, events unfolded perfectly as the 1-1/2 mile race ended with 38-1 longshot Da' Tara in the front of the pack putting the tidy sum of $157.50 into my pocket.
The truth is that I made a couple phone calls prior to the race to some friends of mine who have a much better track record when it comes to betting on the ponies to see if my betting plan was more horse hockey than horse sense. Turns out they both would have advised me against such a bet but, seeing as how I received one of those callbacks while standing in line to cash my winning ticket, I took no small amount of pleasure in rendering the caveat moot.
Saturday's race reinforced my belief that the Triple Crown is the most difficult accomplishment in all of sports. Big Brown's jockey Kent Desormeaux agrees saying after the race:
"...I can't fathom what kind of freaks those 11 Triple Crown winners were."I, for one, thank God that Big Brown's freak flag has yet to be unfurled.