Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Take This

Some people call it karma.  Some just note the frequency with which it occurs.  Some never notice it at all, while others can predict it.
It has other names, but I just like to think of it as the universe evening things up.  Not revenge, but an equaling out in the form of something big.  Something life-changing.  Something well deserved.
It has probably happened to you.  I know a few accomplishments or random acts, or perhaps just surprising consequences that have drifted into and out of my life fit the bill.

That's why when California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby last weekend, it was much more than just a victory for the little guy.  Sure, all those elements were there.  An $8,000. horse drawing away from the best 3-year-olds in the country to win the first leg of the Triple Crown is more than enough to put a week-long smile on the face of those who don't live in the fast lane.  But what I'm talking about here is 77 year old trainer Art Sherman.

This is a guy who has been on the racetrack all his life.  His roots go deep into both the Derby and the sport.  As an 18 year old exercise rider, Sherman accompanied the great Swaps to Churchill Downs sleeping in a rail car with the former Derby winner.  After his riding days, he married his sweetheart, raised his family (two sons who are both in the game) and put up modest statistics. For decades. I'd see him early in the mornings on the Bay Meadows or Golden Gate Fields backstretch, joking with his compatriots, or exercise riders, or owners or jockeys.  He played by the rules.  He did the work, went through the highest highs and lowest lows of the sport as everyone does.
There were  few good horses along the way, but mostly claiming horses and an occasional stakes winner.  This horse, a California bred, comes once in a lifetime.  That time is now and that's where the karma comes in.  It's as if some great force in the universe rises up and says, Art, you lived a righteous life thus far.  You set a good example.  Better still, you kept it all in perspective.  Here, take this horse and go have fun.  You deserve this kind of reward.
Schmaltzy...I know.  But terribly satisfying.
One more thing.  This is horse racing, so I'd better not speak too loudly or too soon.  One thing is for certain.  The Derby is over and the results have been declared Official.


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