I don’t typically put the spotlight on horse racing.
But this is too good.

Last year, a two-year-old colt finished dead last in his first race. Disappointed, his owners placed him in a “claiming” race, where anyone can take the ownership of a horse for a fee. Eric and Kay as trainers.

Eric and Kay’s story is filled with both hard work and tragic loss, losing 24 horses in a lightning-struck training barn fire six years ago. Yet, together they decided to overcome loss and heartache by both their faith and love of horses. The colt was a last attempt to simply try to do the next, right thing.

The colt’s only chance to race in a major in this year was in thoroughbred races limited to three-year-olds. The day before the Kentucky Derby, with only seconds before the entry deadline, one of the horses scratched, and the colt was inserted in the field of twenty horses. A chance.

Neither owner, nor trainer or jockey had ever been associated with any horse in the Kentucky Derby. The jockey had never even won a major event. On the morning of the race, the colt’s odds of winning were set at 80 to 1, the second-longest odds in Derby history.

At the halfway point of the race, the Colt was 16 horses back from the leader, barely visible in the drone camera flying above the race. But then he made his move. He began working his way through the crowded pack, finding narrow openings, improving his position.
As they headed toward the finish line…

he had moved up to fifth, then fourth, then third. Still, no one noticed him. Everyone’s attention was focused on the battle between the two famous front-runners.
And then… with only seconds before the finish, he suddenly made his final move, passing the two front-runners.

The announcer struggled to even identify him. Echoing through Churchill Downs, “Rich Strike is coming up on the inside … Oh my goodness! The longest shot has just won the Kentucky Derby!”

This years winner of the Kentucky Derby was “Rich Strike.” “Rickey” as Eric and Kay call him.
He is now far from Churchill Downs, back home at his barn and his simple stall. No gaggle of reporters, or fanfare, just his other equine friends. He is in great shape and happy to be home. Not really worried about what’s next.

Eric and Kay’s journey has been one connected to their faith and steadied by all those who helped them along the way, especially Eric’s father who is no longer with them.

Don’t really know why this story so appeals to me.
But it does. Hope is a powerful word.

I just think a lot of us have/do feel discounted, overlooked and afraid of beginning again. Just being determined to beat the odds does not always mean victory or success.
But there is something to be said about perserverance… faithfulness… commitment and showing up.

There is something to be said about making the choice to continue… to live and to be you… sometimes against all the odds.

If this is you.. leader, pastor, single Mom, widower, student, missionary, struggling couple, worker, artist… discouraged, lost, embattered, tired, ready to give it all up…
Borrow our faith… to help you believe again.

He who began this work… that same Jesus is still at work.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14).

Want a treat: Here’s the race

This is the video. Make sure the volume is on! Rich strike starts from the extreme left, his jockey is red.


Terry coaches and mentors breakthrough for entrepreneurial, risk-taking leaders. He has authored several books on leadership and pioneered a variety of leadership development resources and processes with his organization, Leader Breakthru. Terry also serves as adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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