Do you know this horse?
Probably not. This is Da'Tara, the horse that is not Big Brown.
Incidentally, Da'Tara won the Belmont Stakes Saturday but you wouldn't know it.
ABC kept all attention on Big Brown, and his jockey and trainer. I turned the television off after 15 minutes when the network had still failed to honor Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, who thwarted Smarty Jones in 2004 with 36-1 longshot Birdstone, or jockey Alan Garcia.
Da'Tara was a 38-1 longshot at the Belmont, the longest odds posted. Virtually every paper in the country, including the Inquirer, chose to picture Big Brown on the front page Sunday instead of Da'Tara.
This is a great story. Peruvian jockey Garcia is only 22. Zito had another upset. Big Brown had beat the horse by 23 lengths in the Florida Derby. This was one of the greatest upsets in the history of the 140-year-old Belmont Stakes. But, no, it was Big Brown all the time. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner didn't just lose. He came in dead last.
This is another case of news organizations wanting to create a narrative before the facts are assembled. This is especially true in sports but common in politics as well. Everyone wanted a Triple Crown winner after a 30-year drought so that's the text, the playbook, that was followed.
It's precisely what happened with the Patriots and the Super Bowl. The commentators and columnists couldn't believe that Tom Brady and Co. could be denied a perfect season, yet that's what makes sports so compelling in the first place. You can't script the outcome.
Triple Crowns are an increasing rarity and as the longest race, the Belmont, is often a thoroughbred's downfall. There have been only 11 Triple Crown winners in almost 80 years but, after three decades, no wanted to believe the drought would continued. There's a lot being written about inbreeding, how little these horses race, and how it's all about breeding. Still, Da'Tara should have been given his due.
It seemed exceptionally unfair on Saturday that the winning horse, trainer, jockey and owner Robert LaPenta were completely ignored because the story everyone wanted, despite history and the long odds, failed to materialize.