The perceptions after a result, rather than a concentration on effort is part of the human condition. As we spoke about in our post on "Luck" it happens with human participants as well. Wins look sparkling, losses look like losses. People over-trumpet the former, and over-analyze the latter. In horse racing it's probably done more than in any other sport, though.
This was highlighted, in my opinion, yesterday in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream.
The hype horse - Shanghai Bobby - was expected to do well, but a funny thing happened. He met a horse who is very talented, who raced his eyeballs out, setting a track record in the process. Shanghai Bobby came a game second.
Because Shanghai Bobby lost the race, the meme immediately surfaced the way it always does in cases like this. "The shine is off the rose, chuck him out of the Derby picture, he might be a good miler", and all the rest.
But what if a little bit of "Luck" happened instead?
What if It'smyluckyday chose another race, tore a quarter like Bern Identity did, got stuck up in the gate, or 100 other things that can go differently, went differently?
In that case Shanghai Bobby runs a 100 beyer, and wins by 11 lengths.
Instead of talking about his failings as a racehorse, people would be anointing him King of Horse Racing. "New fig top in his first start, won in a canter, toyed with the field, what a horse!"
The only thing I learned about Shanghai Bobby yesterday is that he's a talented horse who seemed to winter well, who got beat by a better horse on the third Saturday in January. I don't see how you could make any other proclamation either way.
Golden Receiver won the Presidential Final and earned every inch of it. Nice horse, and a perfect horse for course. He's 8 years old and you'd never know it.
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