1250 aired the 131st Kentucky Derby, and the second longest shot in the
race's history won the event. Giacomo went off at 50-1 odds, and anyone
who made a two-dollar bet went off with $102. It may not be the
lottery, but if you were smart enough or lucky enough to pick Giacomo,
you felt like you were on top of the world.
The only other time a horse had a bigger return for winning the
Kentucky Derby was 1913 when Donerail paid $184.90 for his upset win.
Of course it wasn't called an upset, because that word wasn't used in
that context yet. It came into use after a horse named Upset beat Man
o'War in a race at Saratoga, NY in 1919, the only loss of the great
thoroughbred's career. It was so shocking, that the word became a
regular part of sports language.
Horse racing's moniker is the Sports of Kings, but every now and then a
peasant can strike it rich. Although odds are dictated by the betting
action (the more money that is placed on a horse to win, the odds in
turn go down to lower the payout if that horse wins), it is usually a
direct reflection of what the public thinks. But having said that,
people love an underdog story.
Great lessons can be learned from Giacomo. Not too many people gave the
son of Holy Bull a chance, but with some divine intervention, he made
the perfect trip and showed great heart.
East Carolina fans have always seemed to relish their underdog role.
And the payout from victories like the "Floyd Bowl" victory over Miami
in 1999 or the comeback Peach Bowl win over NC State on January 1st,
1992, gave all
who witnessed it a memory of a lifetime. That's what makes sports
great; the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees.
But just to keep things in perspective, 60 years ago a favorite
celebrated the biggest win in American history, and we should all be
glad there was no upset. If you see a World War II veteran, thank them
for your freedom, and celebrate Victory Europe Day. We wouldn't have
Giacomo to talk about without them.