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In every sport, there are lovable losers. Take, for example, the New York Mets, who in 1962, their inaugural season, managed to win just 50 of 160 games, often committing comical unforced errors in the process. Or jockey Anthony Knott. For 28 years, he has been a fixture in Britain's horse-racing scene – on the backs of mounts that only twice placed as high as fifth and usually were at the back of the pack as they crossed the finish line. Still, he has been philosophical about it all, always coming back for more (although he lamented to a reporter not long ago, "I just wanted to win one race"). And then unexpectedly last weekend, aboard Wise Men Say, he found himself leading in a midafternoon event at the Wincanton track in Somerset with only the homestretch left to cover. Also unexpected: the roar of the spectators as they realized a bit of history was about to be made. Knott reacted as he'd so often seen winning jockeys do, standing up in his stirrups (or irons, as they're known in racing) and acknowledging the cheers. At last, victory was soooo close and his excitement was almost uncontrollable ... until he heard the field catching up to him. "I thought, '[Uh-oh], it's not finished yet,' " he recalled. "So I sat back down and got on with it." But was he too late? Had he blown it? Happily, no. He and Wise Men Say managed to recover in time to win by a little over one length. "I'm on such a buzz," he gushed afterward. "I still can't believe what actually happened. I'm over the moon." So what's next? Alas, the victory he waited so long for also will be his last. "I think I'll leave it at that," he said, announcing his retirement.