3 June 2007

Crazy Horses

I like a lot about life but what I like best is a day at the racetrack. I like the taste of beer but it always tastes better when it is bought with the track's money.

I arrived at the track early enough to see Pedro Alvarado cross the finish line in his track suit and toque under the hot sun. Pedro is one tough little Mexican motherfucker. If I tried running around the soft five furlong track in the midday heat that might be the end of 2 + 2. But I would run faster than Pedro was today if there was a cold pitcher of beer at the finish line.

After I breathed in the over one century old oval, the nearby harbour and the melting mountains I walked over to the racetrack pub for lunch and a couple Carlsbergs. Various ethnic cadres alternatively slapped one another on the back or threatened to renounce their God should another dead cert fail by a head. "That's the way you play this game you chalk-sucking motherfuckers!" "That motherfucking jockey couldn't ride a two-bit whore!" Lunch was good but the beer was sweet as Anne Murray when she was still teaching gym in the rum-soaked backwoods of Nova Scotia.

I was just about to pay my bill and make my way down to the walking ring to inspect the first race's 2 year olds when Old Bill made his way slowly down the stairs into the bar like he has for the past six decades. I motioned him over and ordered us a pitcher of Carlsberg. The beer made it to my table before Old Bill did. I told him, "Reggie sent word about a horse you were touting out on the golf course this week. Is she really any good?" I have known Old Bill long enough to never bet a horse he says he likes at the racetrack. This was the first one of his tips that I have heard about through the dimpled ball grapevine. The horse is a well-bred maiden and I have been carefully watching its connections race it slowly into shape myself.

"Oh ... I don't think she'll ever be a champ or anything but her owners are Jews and the Jews have been a good bet ever since World War Two." He slapped his leg and guzzled back most of his first of many glasses he would have that day. That's why I admire Old Bill: he is over 80 and can still pound them back like he could back in the late '40s. "Look for her trainer to have one of the second tier jocks run her all out the first time she routes. The filly can run all fucking day is what I hear."

The horse I liked in the first had no early speed and appeared to be out for the experience only today. Then I started hitting with the horses who had early speed. This caused me to switch off a couple horses to horses that looked to be able to make the first quarter mile in first or second. A couple horses still finished last but betting horses to win is about being right a little better than a third of the time and scoring with a few longshots along the way.
And it is a good thing I changed my mind on a few horses after observing Dope City Downs' obvious bias in favour of early speed today. Plus I spot bet all the rest of the west coast tracks and hit a few more, including the feature at Hollywood and the final race at Golden Gate which sent me home dreaming instead of cursing about crazy horses.

Tom and Tom both said they would be at Sunflower Downs at the end of the month for the interior racetrack's one day season. Get yourself up there to enjoy an honest race day in the Canadian country. If you are looking for me, I will be the guy vomiting into a 45 gallon drum at the far end of the beer garden about the time the 7th race runs. Buy me a beer when I am done.

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