Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bettin' the Ponies

Turbulent Descent - The Beaumont Gr 1Keeneland's Spring Meet is going on right now.  For a weekend trip, or just an overnight trip, you can't beat it.  Lexington and it's horse farms are beautiful this time of year.  There are a lot of cool little local places you can go, and if you are a gambler, this is the place for you.

I feel like Keeneland is the only place you can really win, and win big.  I feel this way, because I think it is fixed.  Brad and I took a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class together our Senior year, with the very intention of cutting Fridays and hitailing it to Keeneland.  I can't tell you how many times I would get a tip from someone who worked there on their smoke break, that was a long shot and won big.

Now Brad and I never put down any real money in college, mostly because we didn't have any.  But, if you can get a hundred dollar win off of a two dollar exacta box bet, that is HUGE in college.  We would be all, "Forget O'Charley'!.  We're going to A La Lucie's beeeaches!" (A la Lucie's is this GREAT expensive cozy atmosphere filled restaurant).

Anyway, a few years ago, Brad and I decided to relive our past for our Anniversary, and a friend of ours from college, got us tickets upstairs, which we had never been to.  Before, Brad and I always bought General Admission tickets which allowed you to be on the first and second floor, only.  The hierarchy at Keeneland is as follows:  Box seats, mostly are held by generations of families, not corporations, which, on a sunny day is spectacular.  Our friend who got us tickets always enjoys the races from the Turf Club, which I have no idea what that is, but it is very RICH.  Then, there is the upstairs dining room, which serves a buffet and has floor to ceiling windows from behind which, you may comfortably bet, eat, and watch the ponies.  This is key when the weather is rotten.

So Brad and I are invited by our friend to enjoy the upstairs with the rest of the royalty of Lexington, and it was an absolute BALL.  If you have a ticket to the upstairs, that also allows you access to this grassy knoll area on the side of the stands that bellies right up to the racetrack, but still keeps you separate from the riff raff that Brad and I, up until that day, were a member of.  It is this beautiful grassy lawn with old wrought iron tables and outside bars and it is wonderful.  Honestly, that is my favorite place to watch the races, however, I have yet to sit in a box at Keeneland, so I'll have to let you know when I am rich and famous and cannot decide whether I want a lifetime membership to the Turf Club or Box Seats which I will label "Gratuitous Guidance" on the impossibly austere brass name plate on the inside of our box.  From there, I will watch my Fillie, "ggcounselor", (my tweet handle, natch) fly past the finish line, 5 lengths ahead of all of the other horses in the race.  Let's be real, she will be dead last so I have a better story. 

I digress, Brad and I were losing most of the day of our Anniversary.  Brad is the type of gambler who enjoys the feeling of winning so much that he will "wheel" horses in a race.  For those of you who are not familiar, let me explain.  Let's say there is a favorite in the race that is almost a sure thing. Usually this horse will have shitty odds - meaning you almost lose money betting him, because everyone else is betting him too, so for instance, if his odds are 1-1, you basically just get your money back, but you have the bragging rights of saying you won.  BOORRRRIIINNNGGG.  Brad likes to take this horse with the poor odds, and pair it in an exacta, which is the first and second horses, with EACH of the horses in the race, and then BOX it, which means either horse can come in first or second and you win.  You also win more if you try and guess what two horses will come in first and second, rather than just the winner.  This is the closest thing to a sure thing, with the exception of betting the favorite to SHOW, in which you win money whether it comes in first, second, or third.  You follow?  The point of all of this rigamoroll, is that Brad is one of those people who can lose money, even when he wins because he has bet so many combinations in the race.  I find this irritating.

My philosophy is to bet a long shot (a horse that no one thinks will win, with good odds) with a favorite, and exacta box it - so either horse can come in first or second, they just have to be in the top two.  This is a four dollar bet and if it comes in, you usually win big.  I don't win everytime, but I have money for Bloody Mary's and I do not have to wait in that impossibly long ATM line I always find Brad in, with all the other desperate overbetters - not LOSERS, mind you, OVERBETTERS, get it?

So, per usual, even though we are not sitting in the Plebian section anymore, we are down to our last twenty, and we decide to buy two drinks and bet whatever else is left.  We call our alliance "the company", when we are together, but when Brad starts losing a lot and overbetting, I tend to go rogue and make him split the money, halfsies, and we become independent contractors for the rest of the day.  We had made the commitment, early on, to stay together as a company, because it was our Anniversary and in Brad's words, "the day should reflect upon our union."  Alllrrrriiiiggght.  Whatever.  I was on my second Bloody Mary, which makes me very agreeable.

So we are down to our last ten bucks and we decide to go with my one-two exacta box punch featuring a favorite and a long shot.  I might as well have had my eyes closed when I picked out the long shot, but I must have seemed like a handicapper to Brad, because he went with it.  We won three hundred and twenty bucks on that race.  Then, we turned around and did the same exacta box thing again and won $570.  It was a completed Hail Mary pass in the end zone (like the Sports reference, Brad?).

I immediately went into my mode of chatting up people I did not know and telling them my life story.  You meet the BEST characters at the track, and they appeared eager to hear about how long I had been married, and that I cut classes with Brad on Fridays, and that we were down to our last $10.  "I mean, we could go to the money machine, it was not all the money we have in our account," I went on and on, "but it sure is a good hard luck story, isn't it?"

If I am being honest with myself, this was usually met with ambivalence, or feigned interest, at best, and when I would pause to take a breath or a drink of my super tasty 7th beverage of the day, they would find an excuse to walk away.  But, whatever, right?  Because that is what you guys are for - my followers. 

I consider myself a modern day philosopher that waxes on all things bullshit.  My town square is my laptop and you are all my subjects.  My friend, manager, publicist, and agent, Jen, who was over yesterday, told me that I am everyone's "guilty pleasure". 
"Yea.  But you guys just read it.  I have to live it.  What does that say about me?"

"I don't know.  That's for you to figure out.  Now after writing for three months, WE can start making money on your blog, so I hope you are not running out of material."

No chance of that happening as long as I remain the walking, talking, breathing asshole that amuses the masses.  Right.

Whether you go to Keeneland or you are at a Derby party, bet the exacta box with a long shot and a favorite.  You win big or you lose small and that is something I can really get behind.  Worst case scenario, you have a great time and lose about sixty bucks.  Oh, and always bring enough money to the track, too.  In my mind, there is nothing more humiliating that waiting in line at the ATM at the races.  But, that's just me.  My standards are really high.

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