The Horse That Should Have Been a Triple Crown Winner
Kate West (Writer)
The little under-horse that (almost) could, I'll Have Another, won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness this year and was a strong contender to take the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Up against favorite Bodemeister, twice, once in the Derby and once at Belmont, I'll Have Another came from behind in dramatic fashion to overtake Bodemeister and beat him, against heavy odds. Twice. Unfortunately, the feisty horse was sidelined with an injury and forced into retirement, so we'll never know if he could have been a true champion for the decade.
The Triple Crown is an elusive honor afforded to the best thoroughbred racehorse that wins all three races, the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. The legendary Secretariat won in 1973, which is one reason why there are so many books (and a movie) about him. That and his controversial female owner, Penny Chenery. It's especially cinematic to win the Derby, the fastest short race in sports (on a two minute, two kilometer track, for three year olds only). Tinsel Town loves that slow motion photo finish. And movies about winners triumphing over adversity are compelling. But sometimes, you try your hardest and still don't quite make it. That's life, isn't it? And should be worthy of as interesting a story. Sometimes.
Feel good movies have their place and inspirational true stories help us all, but I think there is a good lesson in failure as well. It doesn't have to mean the end of everything and it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Too many parents these days shield their kids from losing, and miss out on some valuable teaching moments. I can picture the end of the movie when everyone watches a different horse take the third race and the camera cuts to I'll Have Another contentedly rolling in grass. He doesn't care. He's happy being a horse. He's on to the next thing. Horses, like dogs, live in the moment, and we would probably be a little happier too if we tried that once in a while. You know, accept the setbacks. And then keep trying.
Come on Hollywood, challenge yourself. Speak up for the spirited losers once in a while. They have heart too. Some of us are a little sick of the phony rom-coms that delude us into thinking Prince Charming is just around the corner (but I digress, ah-hem!) Anyway, if you make the underdog/horse movie, I promise I'll pay to see it. And even bring some friends.
Kate West Kate West has an extensive theatrical background and has been reviewing plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, comedy sketch and much more since 2003. www.katewestreviews.com
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