(SNN) The moment I saw him, awash in yellow and red silk and mounted on that magnificent steed, I almost gave in to temptation. But that would mean tossing out the foolproof plan I’d sworn I’d follow, the one I knew would guarantee I’d leave Santa Anita race track still wearing my shirt and not headed for debtor's prison.
But first I had to resist putting some serious cash on the #4 horse in the very first race.
Not that the nag was a sure thing, but the rider sure was. He was returning to his home track after winning a little thing called The Triple Crown atop American Pharoah. Who wouldn’t want to bet on Victor Espinoza? (See photo.)
I gritted my teeth, stayed with my plan, the pony finished fourth, and I knew this day would not be a disappointment for me. Welcome to: Cork’s Awesome Super-Secret Can’t Miss, No Lose, Extra Perfect Horse Betting and Handicap Strategy. *
A local group I belong to bussed out to fabled local racing emporium, Santa Anita, in Arcadia, CA. The event was well-organized and executed by the planners, and a bargain to boot. Were it not for a little maintenance issue with our transport—the bus’s air conditioner blew out a Sirocco of hellfire on a mid-nineties day— it might have been flawless. I had the added pleasure of sitting next to a loose window that played the drum solo from In-a-Gada-da-Vida with each bump.
Once there, we had the place almost to ourselves, about 3,450 total patrons at a track that had gathered 61,123 in 1958 to see Silky Sullivan run.
Not to worry. Since governments wet their beak in racetrack gambling, most feel a moral obligation to encourage participation. So off-track wagering can raise the stakes to the point that the track’s on-site Handle isn’t all that critical.
Be a Pro at the Track
One important key to CASSCMNLEPHBAHS is to take a professional approach with your gambling. I carefully went through the racing form, taking into consideration past performance, record v. distance and track condition, the jockey, weight carried, and the competition for that day. Naah, just kidding. I picked the horses with the coolest sounding names.
But it’s the next step that is the key. You might want to jot this down.
Once you’ve chosen your horse and reviewed the competition again—do nothing. Do not bet. You heard me. Not a dime, not a two-spot, no Exactas,and certainly nothing resembling a Pick-Six.
That way, you don’t win anything but you do considerably reduce the odds of losing. While all around me serious players were yelping, cursing and urging on their favorites, I was sitting back yawning or ordering another brewski.
Why Go to the Track?
So, minus gambling, what is horseracing’s appeal? Nothing. Nada. Not a thing. It is the dullest event I’ve ever witnessed in sports. Nothing comes close. Not even t-ball with your kid benched.
Soccer fans complain American football has only one play every half minute. In horse racing, it’s one race every half hour. And then, the horses pass by you just once per race. For comparison, in the Indianapolis 500 auto race, there’s—lessee, um, five, carry the zero, and uh—more than a lot of passes.
I get it, Gamblers. Nothing like the adrenalin rush one gets while losing the family fortune. But Scratchers are more exciting and no one has to muck out stalls. Even at the Kentucky Derby the top two attractions are getting sozzled on Juleps and heckling women in silly hats.
Horse-racing is sorta like bad sex: Too much down time, it’s over before you know it, and the cries of “loser!” echo long after.
*(“CASSCMNLEPHBAHS”—pronounced like it’s spelled.)
Unaltered Photo: All Rights Reserved by John Corcoran Jr.
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