|Haru Urara, photos, digital collage|
I am in love with Haru Urara!
I just discovered her, maybe you already know of her?
She is my hero. She is a racehorse.
Very possibly the losing-est racehorse ever.
In this day of winning being everything, she triumphed!
Born in Hokkaido, Japanese horse country, in 1996.
Her first race on November 17, 1998 at Kōchi Racetrack.
Haru Urara lost, placing fifth — and last.
Over the next four-and-a-half years,
she would compete once or twice every month,
but was unable to obtain a single victory.
In June 2003, after garnering her 80th consecutive loss,
the story was picked up by the national Japanese media,
making "Haru Urara" a household name.
She quickly became very popular in Japan, and was called
"the shining star of losers everywhere"
(負け組の星 makegumi no hoshi?),
for continuing to run with all her heart,
despite her seemingly endless losing streak.
And a side story ...
the financially struggling Kochi racetrack was close to closing.
The publicity of Haru Urara drew crowds to the track.
Attendance at the race track soared from an average of
1,600 fans per day to 5,000 on Haru-urara’s 100th race.
Thirteen thousand showed up on her 106th race.
Japan’s top jockey rode her … and she lost again.
Fans expect her to lose but bet on her anyway,
just to get a ticket with her name on it -
it’s considered good luck.
Haru Urara has not raced since September 2004.
Best of all, she has been saved the fate of many losing horses.
Her trainer, Dai Muneishi, arranged for her to retire to a farm
on the northern island of Hokkaido.
“I don’t really know why she’s so popular,” Muneishi says,
“but I guess the biggest reason is that the sight of her running
with all her heart gives comfort to people’s hearts.”
She maintains a record of 0 wins and 113 losses.
An award winning, wonderful documentary recently aired,
made for ESPN and is currently screening.
A partly animated short film offering the answer to how
an undersized horse who vowed to “Never Give Up”
became known as The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere.
You might like it too.
Perhaps we might try cheering on those parts of ourselves
which seem to be under-achieving even if
there seems no end to the losing streak.