My wife and I attended the Kentucky Derby on Saturday — our fourth in the last five years.
As you’ve probably heard by now, the apparent winner, Maximum Security was controversially disqualified for interfering with some of the other horses. This led to the biggest long shot in the field — Country House — to be declared the winner. The worst horse won.
My observations from inside Churchill Downs are thus:
It was a good race, but the apparent winner, the 7 horse, led through much of the race and cruised to what seemed like an easy two-length victory.
We were not informed that there was an objection and that the race was under review. Although the results were not made official, we just assumed the stewards were reviewing a close finish for third place.
The winning horse was on the screen with roses on it. The family celebrated.
About 10 minutes following the race, my phone started to light up. I was getting texts from friends, family and clients (including some of you!) that the race was under review.
By now, the winning jockey appeared on the big screen mortified.
More time passed.
Many people had cleared out of their seats by now.
Twenty-two minutes following the conclusion of the race, the review and its results were announced.
The new winners were shown, celebrating. The disqualified jockey and trainer and owners were near tears.
The winning horse lost.
The second place and worst horse became the winner. Third became second. And fourth came into the money. A monumental change for those making wagers.
And the stadium was two-thirds empty. People had gone to cash in what they thought were their winning tickets, and were streaming out of Churchill Downs.
Betting slips were strewn on the ground.
People thought they were losing bets. But some of them were winners.
Some people returned, crawling on the dirty cement floor in their suits and dresses.
Others simply roamed from box to box looking for discarded winning slips. Some of these folks were just grabbing handfuls of discarded slips to get them scanned at the betting window.
Too many people left way too soon.
They didn’t stay in the game. They quit the game. They didn’t even know the game was not yet decided. But they left.
And it cost them money.
As it does for us, in sales.
As long as we are in the game — as long as we persevere and keep trying — we have a chance to win the sale.
But as soon as we give up (and leave the arena) we voluntarily abandon the possibility of success. It is physically impossible to make the sale when we behave as though we have lost the sale.
And I don’t know about you, but I feel like my prospects deserve my help, and I owe it to them to stay in the arena with them as long as possible.
Like so many of the Derby attendees should have on Saturday.
(My single greatest tip if you are interested in going to the Derby is to get a covered box. This will protect you from the sun and rain, and keep you in good cheer while those without cover struggle to stay dry in their fancy outfits. It has rained — a lot — the last two years.)