Have you ever noticed that a lot of the great race horses have great backstories that start with their owners and trainers following their inner dumb a$$?
Seabiscuit was a short 15.2 hand horse that was overlooked and undervalued. Labeled as lazy and mocked for his under performance, he was sold for the rock bottom price of $8,000.00 and wasn’t considered to ever amount to anything.
With the right trainer, owner, and jockey, though, the little horse did amount to something, and by the time of his retirement on April 10, 1940, he was horse racing’s all time leading money earner.
“I got what I wanted.” ~Penny Chenery. “You got what nobody else wanted.” ~Hollis Chenery. Secretariat is a story we know all to well thanks to the Disney movie Secretariat (good movie by the way, one of my oldest daughter’s favorites), that started with a coin toss. A coin toss. And, a coin toss that his owner lost. Yes, I said lost because according to Ogden Phipps, Penny Chenery lost…or did she?
The unwanted unborn offspring of Somethingroyal and Bold Ruler, Secretariat took to his career with near perfection and still holds all three speed records for each of the Triple Crown races, one of which, the Belmont, may never be touched. A horse that will live throughout history as the most loved and well known race horse ever, and considered the greatest race horse ever was an unwanted colt lost in the flip of a coin.
Seattle Slew was deemed unlikely to become great race horse and was sold for a mere $17,500.00. While I agree with the thought of that’s actually a lot of money, it’s really not. Not in the horse racing world, especially when you consider that at the same time, the half brother to Seattle Slew sold for $13 million. Waving off the doubters, his new owners turned him into one successful race horse that won a ton of money in his races and has sired hundreds of other winners….including….
This year’s current Kentucky Derby winner and Triple Crown winner hopeful, California Chrome. Bred from a $8,000 mare and a $2,500 sire, owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn were told they were “Dumb a$$es” for not only getting in the horse racing business, but for buying the mare and breeding two horses that obviously weren’t anything special. Yeah, nothing special indeed, but only a horse that is the next Triple Crown contender.
So what do Karen and Mickey Taylor, Penny Chenery, Charles Howard, Perry Martin, and Steve Coburn have in common? They didn’t let anyone, not even ones who, to the outside world knew more than them, tell them what they are doing was wrong, that they were making the bad choice. They paved their own road by following their gut, and following their inner dumb a$$. Is there times that they thought they were making mistakes? I don’t know. I’d like to guess yes, we all have moments of doubt in our choices, but I don’t know them, so maybe not.
Taking advice from people should never be taken lightly, but neither should following your own chosen path. I say throw caution to the wind and follow yours. What’s the worst that could happen? You lose? So. Big deal. At least you had the guts to try.