When the Outcome is Improbable

After the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, more than one text came through to my phone asking me if Philip’s pick for the “Run for the Roses” won. I talked about his choice in this post.

No, sadly the horse he had been watching didn’t win…but with Saturday’s outcome, it’s looking like there is a very murky, or muddy final call as to a clear winner for the first time in 145 years.

As you may (or may not) know, it rained all day at the track on Saturday and so the track was a sloppy channel of gooey mud. Maximum Security crossed the finish line first, but was disqualified for what was called impeding the race.

Once Omaha Beach went out earlier last week for health reasons, all eyes turned to a new favorite: Maximum Security. Though he was a young Colt, he has had several wins and that was creating a winning buzz among the announcers, if no one else.

The starting bell rang and the gates opened. All the horses exploded from their stalls like shrapnel and ran like the wind through the slops of mud. Down and around the track they flew with Maximum Security holding the lead by a hoof, or a nose…or some other racing term that I’m not exactly sure of.

Improbable was Philip’s choice and we could see his jockey trying to find an opening to move in to the front line, but there was just no space. So with the current winner’s standings, Improbable is in 4th place.

When the 2 minutes of intensity was over, Tiffany asked, “So Dad, how do you feel about this? His quiet reply was simply, “Disappointed.”

Across the weekend, I’ve thought about this race, and how it really is somewhat similar to life, and the disappointment that we feel when things don’t go the way we want no matter how hard we try.

You know, we get all caught up with getting 10,000 steps recorded on our Google Fit app and comparing what other people are doing and comparing our Instagram likes or Facebook selfie loves to the other PTO moms. Or we didn’t make it into the top 10 of our class, or didnt get selected to attend the Air Force Academy, or how we aren’t losing weight as fast as our best friend is, and we both quit drinking Diet Dr. Pepper at the same time, or our kids aren’t going to college, but instead they have started a business to offer painting services, and we just compare and fret and we were passed over for the latest promotion for CEO. Someone else, younger and stronger and seemingly faster and more well known with a heftier resume, got the promotion to CEO…or Mom of the Year…or Best Over All Trophy!

You’ve told me how the comparison race is just debilitating and the likelihood of achieving success is simply “IMPROBABLE”.

My daughter has told me the popular girl at school has 9,600,420 Instagram followers. (Yes, I exaggerated.)

However, when those horses flew over that finish line, there clearly was one that was the fastest. There clearly was one who led the pack the entire time it took to run 10 furlongs or however long it was. All 19 Thoroughbreds who crossed the finish line, all crossed within milliseconds of one another.



Every single jockey most likely had one thought in mind and that was to guide their horse to finish well, in the Kentucky Derby, “the most exciting two minutes in sports” as some say. If they didn’t have that thought in mind, the other one that quickly sprang up might be, “UH OH, I’m about to get run right over!”

When you compare the analogy, life is an exciting adventure, it goes by fast…don’t blink, determine to finish well by guiding your choices.

You may not get the promotion to CEO or the Best Over All Trophy, but I guarantee you that if you determine to finish well by guiding your choices, you will definitely cross that finish line (achieve those goals) within milliseconds of the winner.

And so, the winner got the trophy but with effort and care they all got across the finish line.

By living well, the outcome won’t be “Improbable”. You will finish strong right along with all the other race contenders. You may not finish first, but you will finish well.

Jockeys guide their horses. People guide their choices!



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  1. Well, Improbable was ‘at least’ respectable! It looks like his chances are shaping up nicely for the Preakness. They did all finish well! but some were more muddy than others.

    1. Yes!! Philip he sure was respectable!! It will be fun to see how The Preakness finishes.

  2. Rachel, what a great commentary on the race of life! I loved that you stress we will finish the race if we guide our choices! Well written, sweet sister! Love you bunches!

  3. Once again Rachel, you have made me stop and think about my short comings. Just live to the best of my ability, trust in my Savior and let the rest go by!! Thank you again Rachel!!

    1. Gail, thank you so much for your comment. I certainly didn’t intend to remind anyone of shortcomings that they may feel. I know it is so easy to compare ourselves to others when in reality we are doing an absolutely excellent job. I have to remind myself of this often that it’s not the one who finishes first, it just about finishing WELL! Thank you so much for your visit here. It truly means so very much.

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