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Column for 8.15.12
If I could start my writing career over again, I’d get into horse racing. I’d be the writer who comes up with the names of racehorses. Racehorses have great names.
From my file of great racehorse names comes “Al Capony.” Get it? I also very much like “Hay Good Lookin.”
Here are a few others I like: “Miss Behave,” “Flat Broke,” “Not So Fast,” “Mane Attraction,” “Rein Dance,” “Tubby Checkers,” “Forrest Jump,” “Awe Kitty Kitty,” “Maple Stirrup,” and “Alimony,” a name which has to have a story behind it.
Racehorse names are on my mind because I’m just back from the track at Saratoga. This past Sunday was my second visit to Saratoga this racing season.
I have a betting system that involves racehorse names. I bet on horses that have the same name as someone I am close to.
“Cindy’s Joy,” for example, was running in the third race at Saratoga. One of my daughters is named Cindy. “Cindy’s Joy” finished third,” but since I bet “Cindy’s Joy” across the board I won.
I learned this betting system from my father. He liked to bet on a name. He made money doing it, too, although not always.
Many years ago there was a horse at Vernon Downs by the name of “Joe Kelly B.” (Maybe there was a Joe Kelly A. I don’t know.) My father would always bet a considerable amount of money on “Joe Kelly B.” I could always tell when “Joe Kelly B” had raced and lost the night before because my father gave me a dirty look in the morning.
There was one time, however, when he left a $20 bill on my breakfast plate. I figured “Joe Kelly B” must have won big the night before.
I keep looking for a “Joe Kelly C” to bet on, but so far I haven’t seen him.
“Gustavia” was running in the 7th race Sunday at Saratoga and I won $19.80. A friend of mine and my lawyer is named Gus.
“Readthebyline” also raced Sunday. That’s not a name but it fits into my system because I’ve had a byline in this newspaper for 11 years and in the newspaper before this one for 20 years. Alas, “Readthebyline” finished, but took awhile to do so. A long while.
I tend to bet on gray horses. That isn’t part of my system, though.
I always buy one or two tip sheets at the track. I want to see what the experts think. But as I hand over $5 per tip sheet, it always crosses my mind that if the experts were so good at picking horses, they wouldn’t have to sell a tip sheet.
Some observations from the track at Saratoga:
• If I like a horse, but then decide not to bet on that horse, that horse will win.
• The lines at the betting window are like the lines at the supermarket. The one you choose always moves the slowest.
• I don’t recall ever seeing an African-American jockey. There are many jockeys with Mexican sounding names, though.
• The track announcer has a great sounding voice.
• There are many newspaper readers at the track. None of them are reading about politics or current events, though.
By the way, at Saratoga the general admission ticket is $3 and you can bring in a cooler. “Cooler” is a code word for beer. I can’t think of another sporting event I’ve ever attended where “coolers” are permitted. Usually after spending a fortune for a ticket, I have to spend a mini-fortune for an adult beverage at the event. Saratoga is a good deal.
And on Sunday everybody got a free Saratoga blanket.
Using my system on Sunday I made money, as long as you don’t figure in the gas it took to get there, Thruway tolls, parking fee, admission fee, and what it cost to buy a program and tip sheets.
At least I didn’t have to buy a pencil for 50 cents. I remembered to bring my own this time.
Did I mention I got a free blanket?