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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Plaza Ponies

Countdown to Vegas, Episode 3. Mrs. Jackmama suggested that I do some kind of countdown to my trip, and I decided to write a story per day from one of my previous visits.

March 2005

Mrs. Jackmama called to see how it was going. I told her we were playing the horses.

"I want to make a bet," she said.

"OK," I replied. "The fourth race at Tampa Bay Downs is coming up next."

We were in the sports and race book in the Plaza. I had just started to become interested in horse racing, and my parents decided to join me for a morning at the track.

I was primarily playing Aqueduct, because that's what the people on TV do. I have since learned that it's a bad idea to play the larger tracks, because that's where you're most likely to find the people that know what they're doing. Fortunately, I worked in some races from Tampa Bay Downs, because that's the first race track I ever visited in person. The reasoning may have been lame, but at least it was a smaller track, and not very attractive to the good handicappers. My bets throughout the morning were not very notable. I won just enough to keep betting, and even hit an exacta, although it didn't pay out much. That's what you get for betting a 2-favorite exacta.

I read off the names of the horses in the fourth race, and Mrs. Jackmama selected one. I chuckled to myself, knowing that the name was no way to pick a winner. I'd been puzzling through the racing form all morning, and was on the cusp of figuring out the best method for handicapping, and it had nothing to do with the name, I'll have you know.

"You want to bet it to win, place or show?" I asked.

"To win!"

"OK, good luck."

I returned to our table to pick an actual winner. I found one that looked promising, and placed our bets.

Mrs. Jackmama's horse won. Of course.

Mom was using a name-based betting system, as well. We'd been chatting with the ladies at the window with each bet, and they tolerated our silliness because we were clearly there for entertainment purposes only. Somewhere around the 8th race, Mom informed one of the ladies that her next bet would be buying dinner.

After the race had run, the lady asked us if she should sent the hot dog guy around.


Blogger Unknown said...

You can laugh if you want, but I clearly remember winning using my name formula. I won't retire on it, but it was fun to win.

10:45 AM  

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