The disqualified Kentucky Derby horse, Maximum Security ran like Steve Prefontaine, leading from the start and running with heart and toughness that outclassed the field in a way that was obvious even to the uninitiated.

His performance was inspiring at some visceral level, one that is pure and seen only in sports where sheer effort can translate to triumph. This is an equation that makes sport at its best a simple but motivating aphorism about effort and achievement.

That a noble animal and his rider were disqualified because Maximum Security may have brushed or slightly impeded an adjacent horse is a disappointing threat to that aphorism. If horse races were meant simply to be sterile time trials, then each animal would run a prescribed course in solitary fashion.

But that’s not a race. It’s a time trial.

This is not an argument for the chariot races at the Coliseum or some variant of Hunger Games. It is only a reminder that in both horse racing and in life, heart and toughness, from start to finish, represent the true victory.

Peter Pressman, M.D., M.S., FACN

Yarmouth


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