Archive for the ‘Racing’ Category

A Day At the Races

Posted: June 25, 2010 in Racing
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I love going to the track. I must admit it. Horse racing is called The Sport of Kings and I believe it. Nothing makes you feel more royal than watching your horse come in and then going to the betting window and collecting stacks of money. My biggest win on one race was back in 1999 on the Kentucky Derby. Charismatic was a 30 to 1 longshot and I bet $20 big dollars on him and walked away with $600. At that point I thought I could make a living betting on the ponies.

I couldn’t.

But it never stopped me from going to the track. Santa Anita Race Track opens every year on December 26th. That’s right; the day after Christmas has always been gambling time for me. The last six years I have lived in Northern California and in Arizona so I have not had the chance to get to Santa Anita at all.

But now that I am back in Southern California, Santa Anita has been in the back of my mind, calling me, like an old girlfriend.

So it was no real surprise when I impulsively head to the track today. I was driving around with nothing to do so I thought I would head out to the track. I knew Santa Anita isn’t running but I headed out anyway. Right now it’s just OTB. But I really wanted to get out to the track.

The track was calling me.

I pay $4 for parking, $5 for admission, $11 for a program and Racing From and $1 for a pen. I buy a $5.75 beer and I’m ready to go.

The track is full of what my grandmother would call “characters.” Mostly older people populate the track. Not a whole lot of young people milling about. They’re mostly trying to win at No Limit Hold ‘Em. But I really love Horse Racing. It’s sad that it’s a dying sport, though. Just walking through the crowd makes me feel happy. There is a strange feeling in the air; a mixture of hope and despair. These are my people. Who else would be here on a Friday afternoon?

First race I bet on is the First race at Alameda Fairgrounds. There are only five horses in the race so I figure I have a good shot at making some money. I decide on the #2 horse, Keep it Rollin B, and then pair it with the #3 horse, PS Donnas Princess for a $2 Exacta box. I’m actually pretty excited about this bet. It’s been so long since I’ve been here. The race goes off and my horses are not even in the race. They finish 1, 4, 3 and I crumble up my ticket.

I lose the next race and buy another $5.75 beer. The 8th race at Monmouth Park is next.  I decide to go with my gut on this one. The #1 horse is called Hooked on Hope. That’s a good sign. The #3 horse, Ms. Short Pockets catches my eye but then I see the number #8 horse, Inner Groove and I know I have found my two horses. I go for another $2 Exacta box with the #1 and #8 horses. I feel really good about my chances here. Sure, I’ve put no thought into these picks other than I like the names, but I feel like I’m due for a win here. I really think I’m DUE! They finish 3, 4, 7. My horses are nowhere near the front. I decide right then to never, never, bet with my gut again. Apparently my gut has no brains.

The 8th race at Belmont is coming up next. After some serious thought and another $5.75 beer I decide on the #2 horse, Congor Bay and the #7 horse, Affirmatif. I don’t think I need to tell you how this race turned out. Another loss and I’m starting to hate the track.

But deep down I know I can never hate the track. To me the track is like that old girlfriend that you can never get over. No matter how bad she treated you, you know if she calls you will be right there. I just have to do little homework before I go next time. I need to make more of an effort. I know if I get my act together the track will reward me.

Next time will be better.