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Jockey Wins by Imputing Goodness to His Horse

Editor's Note: The doctrine of imputation involves the idea that God reconciles sinners to himself by declaring them to be righteous on account of Christ. We are judged by God on the basis of Christ's action and identity, which he has freely given (or "imputed") to us.

On May 1, 2009 at the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby a smaller horse named Mine That Bird entered the race at 50-1 odds. Mine That Bird had not fared well in his two previous races. So it was no surprise that the long-shot horse struggled from the start of the race. Mine That Bird and jockey Calvin Borel got squeezed between the other horses and quickly dropped into last place. At the first quarter-mile stage, Mine That Bird was still running dead last. At one point, he was so far behind the other horses that NBC's announcer Tom Durkin at first missed seeing him.

But at the three-eighths pole, Mine That Bird started gaining on the other horses. After passing Atomic Rain, the horse took off. As Borel rode his horse around the eighth pole, he guided Mine That Bird between the rail and another horse. From that point Mine That Bird took off to victory, winning the mile race by 6 and ¾ lengths.

The victory stunned the horse racing world. Even Mine That Bird's owner said, "[The victory] wasn't something that was on our radar." Another horse owner said, "I was like, What happened? It was a shocker."

But Mine That Bird's jockey, Calvin Borel, wasn't shocked. When asked what happened during the race, Borel simply said, "I rode him like a good horse."

Possible Preaching Angles:

This isn't "the power of positive thinking." Imputation implies the crediting of qualities that are external to yourself. Mine That Bird won the race because a higher authority (Calvin Borel) rode him as if he were a winning horse. Like Jesus, Borel calls into being something that was not there previously—his righteousness in us.

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