By Jason Keidel
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Horseracing and boxing are tangential sports that bring out, in Catholic terms, the “C and E’ers,” Christians who hit church only on Christmas and Easter, just enough to practice without preaching. We watch boxing only when Pacquiao is punching and Churchill Downs one day in May. Each sport relies on a transcendent star to garner any gravitas.

Someone like America’s newly adopted daughter, Zenyatta, 1,200 pounds of heavenly woman who stole our heart and then broke it on a patch of Kentucky dirt – by a nose.

Those of us on two legs love things on four legs because they don’t project the neuroses that are inevitable in human relations. They are pure while we are eternally imbued with sin. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t corrupt them.

But Zenyatta was just human enough. Before each race she posed, preened, grinned, and danced, stretched her long legs and flicked her hooves for the crowd, uncannily aware of her place as equine royalty and female flirtation. She is, as much as a horse can be, sexy. And she humiliated men to the glee of women, lounging in last place for half a race before galloping past the alpha males. She is bursting with metaphors.

When the Green Bay Packers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1960 title game, Vince Lombardi said his team didn’t really lose; they merely ran out of time. So it is with our sweetheart Zenyatta, who merely ran out of room.

She lost to a horse named Blame, a name befitting another metaphor. Watching the backstretch it was clear that she was breezing past her boy toys before the finish line. Blame is surely a fine horse, but will be best known as the beast that killed the perfect ending.

The idealist will say that Zenyatta’s still perfect, that the six inches between 19-1 and 20-0 are incidental. Sadly, that’s not true. Just ask the 18-0 New England Patriots after a three-point loss made them 18-1 and spawned a tribe of Nicaraguan kids who wear “19-0” t-shirts. History is written by the victors, and even horses know there are no flawless losers.

The requisite bickering will ensue – the blame game up the food chain, owners who blame trainers who blame jockeys – while Zenyatta swigs a Guinness, eats an apple, and wonders what all the fuss is about. She gets it. And we got the bliss that only sports can provide, a two-minute trap door from our daily woes.

For an enchanted moment this gal gave those of us gorged on testosterone a chance to stroke our metrosexual side. Perhaps she had to lose, to remind us that no woman is perfect, another reason for men to rely on the objective hardness of football and other sports where machismo trumps romance. Still, she does retire at a mere six years of age to an opulent life that any man would envy. She’s rich and pampered and everlasting proof that women are prettier than men

Someone with more knowledge, a paid pragmatist, can tell us where she struts in the pantheon, to arrange a logical context where love doesn’t apply. All we know is that we fell in love, a feeling that tenders to any gender.

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