Doing what it takes to be the best

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Since before I can remember, horse racing has been a staple in my life.
So you can imagine my excitement when American Pharoah ran down that stretch to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.
My initial thought was how excited my Paw Paw would have been to see this day. He was the one who ignited my love for the sport and horses.
He taught me how to read the daily racing form and attempted to explain to me how to pick a good racing horse.
During one of our visits to the fairgrounds in New Orleans, we had the opportunity to meet Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah.
I remember him as being very gracious to two giggling teenagers and having his photograph taken with them.
The majority of our photographs were damaged during Hurricane Katrina so I’m glad this memento survived.
I will never forget the day I met the talented trainer with his signature white hair and dark sunglasses.
My Paw Paw shed tears of joy when we excitedly told him about our experience in the paddock. I like to think he was proud of his two granddaughters who had inherited his love for horse racing which also includes the amazing corned beef sandwiches and bread pudding served at the fairgrounds.
I lost a lot that day in August 2005, but one thing I will always have are my memories.
There was a great happiness in the air Saturday as American Pharoah breathed life into an almost disappearing sport.
Winning the Triple Crown is not an easy feat and American Pharoah displayed the strength and endurance it takes to be a winner.
Although he is a horse, he wasn’t just handed this honor; he earned it.
In today’s world, most young people are given an award just for showing up to a competitive event. In my opinion, the true meaning of a tournament is to separate the best and hardworking from the rest.
This life is can be rewarding and fulfilling if we are willing to work hard and put in the effort to make it to the top.

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