It was just one of those nights at the horse race track, folks, as the opening of Emerald Downs last Friday unfolded. I would like to tell you that I handicapped the races very, very well and picked a lot of winners and cashed in a lot of betting slips.
I would like to tell you that, but alas, most of the time I was just one number away from being a big winner.
What a night! Wind, rain, sleet, 7,500 plus fans and a whole lot of horses running which had never won a race before. That proved to be my downfall with not much of a track record to go with.
I decided since the night was stormy and the track was rated “good” I would trust the instinct and the insight of the top handicappers at the track, the Seattle Times writer who is at the track now until it closes and some guy named Parker who writes a daily sheet that gives you exactas, trifectas and whatever for a couple of bucks.
I also decided to throw caution to the wind and take the three horses picked by the Times in the first two races and bet a trifecta box each time.
The Chapman money went on Cantcatchkato, Be There Joe and Bumpy. I bet the 9-6-3 and it cost $6.
The 9 finished fourth, but 3 and 6 were out of the money and
I was off to a horrible start.
The second maiden claiming race for horses worth $5,000 had 10 entries and the choice was 4-9-3. Mr. Pendlelton, Hijo Del Sol and Skookum Bear. When I got to the window, I learned Hijo Del Sol had been scratched (that’s taken out of the race by the trainer) so I had to take another horse.
Do I choose the 8 (Kayots of Fire) that had only raced one time in its career, or the 10 horse (Kafwain Secret MD)? I chose the 10.
The finish? 4-8-3-10. I was, right, just one number away.
The 6-1 shot finished next to last.
Since the track went from “good” to “wet/fast” because of the rain, I quickly scanned my Daily Racing Form and found three horses who had success in the slop and picked another trifecta.
It was Chicksaw Park, Smart as Jim and Best Verse. How could I go wrong? I thought about putting a fourth horse in the mix, the 6 horse Vaderator, but odds were not good, so I stayed with the 3-4-5.
To cover my rear, I also put $4 down on an exacta box with the 1-6.
The finish? 6-3-4-1. Lost both bets, folks.
Undaunted and with a couple of bucks left in the wallet, I decided to go all out on this race. This time I bet the tote board. As you know, unlike casino gambling when you gamble against the house, in horse racing you are wagering against the people who are also wagering: The house just takes a short cut out of the gross each race.
It was one of those nights when the horse players had collected on the heavy favorites, so I chose Hot Box (5), Ducoti (8) and Shameonya (2) which was ridden by the track’s most winning jockey, Gallyn Mitchell, who had not won a race yet.
I felt good about this bet, as a lady just before me in line put $5 to win on the 8.
The finish? 8-2-1. The No. 5 horse was in fifth place, just one number away …
So, with funds running low, I exited Emerald Downs in the rain. Since one had to be present to win one of the 50 television sets given away during the night, I asked my writer friends to call me at the nearby motel if I won a 32-inch set after races 6, 7 and 8.
Guess what? I did not get a call.
Reach Scooter Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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