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Updated: 03/25/04

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What's on the nightstand

by H. Rider Haggard


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Thursday, 25 March, 2004

Japan has a new heroine. Her name is Haru Urara:

Haru Urara

[Note the Hello Kitty hood.]

Haru Urara has lost 106 races in a row and has become a national cult figure. Last year, on Dec. 14 at Kochi Racetrack located in Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan, Haru Urara ran in the "Never Give Up, Haru Urara 100th Commemorative Race."

She lost.

And she lost her most recent race with Japan's most respected jockey, Yutaka Take, on board. She came in tenth in a field of eleven.

There is wide speculation as to why this losing horse is so popular. Some suggest it is the belief that she may have lost today, but, just maybe, she'll win tomorrow. With Japan's economic woes and company downsizings, Haru Urara has become a symbol of the continued struggle in the face of adversity.

A variety of "Haru Urara goods" are now on the market and sales are brisk. Racing tickets of bets placed on Haru Urara are being sold as good-luck charms to ward off traffic accidents, as, in Japanese, the expression "ataranai" or "won't get hit" describes not only a safe ride but, in racing, a losing wager.

A strand of hair from her tail is said to protect one from company downsizing, and at Kochi Racetrack, a copy of the CD, "The Song of Haru Urara - Time After Time" sells for $8 a piece. Other items, including T-shirts, are going like hotcakes.

There is also talk of a movie and already numerous books of her story have appeared. Haru Urara has been awarded the Kochi City Tourism Association's "Tourism Service Award" and with it, 200 kg of carrots.

[At this point, she'd better not win or it will spoil everything.]

Quote du jour:

"You're never a loser until you quit trying."

-- Mike Ditka (1939 - ____) US football player, coach

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