Be prepared

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All racehorses get beat. Ok, so maybe that’s not entirely true. I’ve got a semi-dusty Thoroughbred Times Racing Almanac circa 2009 that contains a list of “Leading Unbeaten Racehorses” to prove the above statement incorrect. So perhaps it’s more accurate to say nearly all racehorses get beat.

Conquistador Cielo didn’t topple his fellow American classic winners in the 1982 Travers.

Easy Goer couldn’t beat Sunday Silence in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Lure didn’t win a third straight Breeders’ Cup Mile in 1994.

Birdstone ran Smarty Jones down in the 2004 Belmont.

Zenyatta failed to catch Blame in the 2010 Classic.

Goldikova wasn’t up for winning a fourth Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2011.

See what I mean? There isn’t always a Hollywood ending with the expected winner walking off to the cheers of thousands and the adoration of millions. At the same time it doesn’t mean there isn’t a storybook ending for someone else.

California Chrome brings one of the better stories racing has seen in recent years. There’s no sense going over it again, hopefully you’re tuned in by now. It is worth going over a few other things that could matter.

As in, California Chrome could lose Saturday in the Preakness.

I’d like to emphasize the word could, mainly so no accusations fly about having some kind of “East Coast” or other bias against the Kentucky Derby winner.

The chances of California Chrome losing in the Preakness don’t appear great considering he’s already beaten a few of his expected rivals and stacks up very well against those he hasn’t faced. He stacks up well based on what appears in the past performances.

Thankfully horse racing isn’t determined by what’s on paper, or what people want to happen or what those in the industry feel is deserving, whatever that means.

Everyone is certainly excited about the prospects of California Chrome taking another step toward becoming racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner. He was the only one with that chance after the Derby and we’ll know if he’s still got a chance a after the Preakness.

But we need to be prepared for the possibility that California Chrome will not be going for a sweep of the Triple Crown when the Belmont Stakes is run June 7.

We need to be prepared for California Chrome to not even run in the Belmont Stakes. Considering the Preakness will be his fifth start of the year it’s a fairly safe bet that he won’t should he lose at Pimlico.

We need to be prepared to salute the upset winner, who hopefully does it on the level and without any incident. We need to celebrate another horse winning if California Chrome doesn’t.

Because that’s what makes racing great: Everybody’s got a chance, fair and square, on the level and nothing manufactured by people in conference rooms.

If you want scripted drama, go to the movies or watch reality television.

The real drama is on the racetrack.

Just be prepared, please.