Tuesday, June 11, 2013
People swarmed everywhere--on the lawns with picnics, at tables to learn how to bet, in lines for the food carts that sell everything from hummus with too much garlic to tacos to popcorn to pizza to lemonade, to the inside where men and women from all walks of life stared intently at all the monitors to watch races at other tracks. During the stakes, a highly mixed population attends--the old men who gamble every day, the degenerates who wear stretched-out suspenders that barely hold up their pants, the infants whose parents decided a fun family activity would be to go to the track where people smoke cigars and cigarettes and get so drunk they can't stand, the skanks who pretend to like racing so they can wear dresses so short you can see their hoo-hahs, the rich horse owners in linen suits, the ta-ta women in business suits and Sunday church hats. And us. We were there.
Oh, and a guy in a suit was there wearing these on his feet.
Time to bet the first race! SMM, AF, and I were all confused. Eddie was directing us. He got everyone programs. He explained how to read them. He told us exactly what to say to the people at the betting counter. He basically held everyone's hand. Then I made him bet for me because I just couldn't do it. Maybe next time. Eddie's a good teacher. He should open a how to bet the horses school and call it A Class At The Races.
We spent most of the day walking around, checking out the carts, betting, waiting, and then watching the races that took about a minute. I chose horses the way I usually do. I chose the best names: Howie's Tiz, Wabbajack, Tenango, Zee Bros, and Finnegans Wake. Funny thing: the ones with the best names have the worst odds. Sometimes, that works out all good for me. This time? Not so much. I lost every friggin race. Not only did I lose, but I'm pretty sure some of my horses simply stopped running and started grazing in the field or napping in the bushes. It was that bad.
In the beginning, very few people were outside. There was some cheering, some shouting, but not much. As the day wore on, the grounds got more crowded and everything was a little louder. We watched a bunch of races on the screens out front when we couldn't get through the crowd in time to get back in.
AF found some seats down by the track so we camped out for the last few races, noticing that we didn't understand the tight rules the website lists as to what you can and cannot bring. It said no coolers and no big bags. Everyone around us had clearly spent the entire day there with their big insulated cooler bags and huge trays of food. The couple in front of us had printouts of stats on every horse and lots of fruit they peeled and dropped on the floor. Bringing food was a better idea than buying it considering a bottle of water, a bottle of Coke, and a pretzel was about 20 bucks.
For the last race, I chose Freedom Child. Subconsciously, my mom was probably lurking. I also thought about Palace Malice, but then remembered that I'd bet two horses on a previous race which made me lose more money than gain it, so I stuck with my first pick.
As we all know, Palace Malice won. Freedom Child had led the pack the whole way and then finished second to last. At least he wasn't last. But that still doesn't get me any profit. We did not take the mini bus back to the parking lot. We took the two minute walk. We got out pretty quickly. That's what happens when you don't have to wait around on the lines to collect your winnings. Good for us.