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Fingers crossed for a magical end that wasn't

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:36 p.m. CDT

As the seconds ticked past, the starting time for the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown horse race inched closer. If you were rooting for California Chrome, the tension was palpable.

Everyone who loves a fairy-tale ending hoped for one here. Every horse that has had the possibility of becoming a Triple Crown winner has became America's favorite for the moment.

The fact is, however, none probably had, or ever will have again, the humble origins that Team California Chrome brought to the party. And, it is this fact that helped generate so much interest in this particular horse.

As the field of horses entered the starting gates, you could almost sense the collective holding of breath. And, when the gates banged open, it was every horse's race to be won; sadly, it wasn't California Chrome's.

The Belmont is grueling, even for a fresh horse; this was California Chrome's third race over the course of 5 weeks. I have no idea what kind of physical toll, racing in such close succession, takes on a horse.

Would a longer rest period have produced a different outcome? It's hard to say. But, I can guarantee, California Chrome gave his all on that day.

Win or lose, things have to be kept in perspective. Horse racing is a business where hopefully one has more winners than losers, where one plays the angles and maneuvers for the best possible outcome.

Setting all that aside, when a fairy-tale story like California Chrome's comes along, it mesmerizes almost everyone, and for a brief moment in time, we become like children, with our fingers crossed, hoping for that magical ending.

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