I, no, we, have been wronged.

A great injustice has occurred, worse than someone coveting thy neighbor’s wife, worse than stealing, worse than, dare I say, coveting his ox or ass. No, the greatest injustice is violation of the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt tell thy bro when thy hits a Pick 6.

That’s right. I have a buddy who was in Las Vegas last week and on Day 1 of his trip hit the Pick 6 at Santa Anita for $2,500. I found out about it from a secondary source. I had been speaking to this source (who doesn’t play the races) for a half hour before he even brought up the Pick 6. Who are these people?
For years and years all I had heard were the misses, the 4-of-6s, the 3-of-4s, the missed Pick 4 on Derby Day in 2008 when Intangaroo nosed Hysterical Lady. Perhaps it’s modesty (no, can’t be), or maybe because losers are so much more interesting, that these tales of woe strike a resonant chord. Given the choice, which locker room would you rather hang out in (now, this may just be a writer thing)? I’d pick the losers. They are most vulnerable, the most raw. Gay Talese wrote a piece about Floyd Patterson called “The Loser”. And it’s never to poke fun. Never.

In one of the 37 stories Talese wrote about Patterson, he notes the entourage, “These were battered guys. They were 4Fs. They were military rejects. There were all beaten at one point, maybe just from neighborhood fights, but they were all battered. They were a disreputable group of rejects. What I thought was so wonderful is they had great humility even though they were walking weapons. There’s a sadness about them and when someone would talk to them decently, as I did, they sort of opened up to me.”

Which isn’t to say winning doesn’t come without scar and burden. Just take the 1982 Duel in the Sun between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. Salazar was never quite the same after thwarting a late Steppenwolfer-esque rally by Beardsley. Who wants to see Michael Jordan hugging a trophy when you can see Mike Smith crying aboard Zenyatta? Both ooze of human emotion but it’s the old adage of the “agony of defeat” that is so beautifully raw.

I’ll never miss the times when my buddy, the violator of the Eleventh Commandment, has a story to share about the miss on the shoulders of a 30-1 bomb he didn’t have on his Pick 4 ticket. But he always comes back, time and again, changing tracks more than a nickel claimer.

So what did I do? I emailed him the link to the 2008 Humana Distaff. Punishment fit the crime.

Brendan O'Meara is the author of this Twitter feed.