Saturday, October 18, 2008

Win, Place And Show Me The Money

I mentioned I spent a few hours in Lexington yesterday at Keeneland along with Polar.

We were doing our annual traditional trip to Keeneland to help Dawn celebrate her October 12 birthday but I was the one having a very good day.

I've been living here for seven years and yesterday was only my third trip to a racetrack despite living in Louisville and having Churchill Downs not far from me.

The only track I've been to is Keeneland, and to be honest it's actually prettier than the Downs. It's a beautiful facility on a large plot of land near the airport with ample parking and a parklike setting. It's especially beautiful in the fall with all the trees starting to turn.

My first visit occurred only two weeks after I moved here in 2001. Dawn and Polar knew I was still severely homesick and took me there just to get me out of my funk and being down about my situation. I had a memorably entertaining one in 2004 involving a humorous race call with a horse named Scripture.

When Scripture stumbled and fell out of the starting gate, the track announcer without skipping a beat replied, "Scripture kneels to pray at the starting gate."

Unfortunately Scripture's stumble was more serious than it looked because when the race was over the horse ambulance came out and whisked him off to the vet. I discovered later he'd broken one of his legs and had to be euthanized.

While nothing that serious happened on this trip, I did have something happen for the first time since I started coming to the track. I actually won money.

Usually when I go I make my win, place and show bets on a few horses and don't win anything, Polar's hit and miss while it seems like everything Dawn bets she cashes winning tickets on.

We happened to go on one of the themed racing days, so almost everyone in honor of Big Blue Day was wearing either UK colors or their own collegiate gear. We arrived there just after the second race concluded and in time to bet the third race. I'm still learning what to look for as a horse racing neophyte in terms of picking winners, and my luck held true to form in the third race.

But the fourth race was different. There was a horse named Galloping Home in this one, and I just liked the name. When I saw his workout times I liked him even better and bet him. I did have an anxious moment when he balked at being loaded into the starting gate. But once the race started he did his thing and lived up to his name by galloping home down the stretch in first place.

After doing the happy dance I cashed the ticket out and used some of my proceeds to bet on a horse called Dookie Duck in the fifth race. He finished in second.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to bet two horses since I couldn't decide which one I liked better in the sixth race between Sweet Ransom and Impressionism.

Impressionism just beat out Sweet Ransom for third place while everybody else chased a 61-1 longshot called Cure For Sale to the pole. If I'd bet that one it would have payed $128 on a $2 bet, but alas I didn't. I had to be happy with the $2.80 I won for Impressionism's not so picture perfect third place finish.

But that made the third straight race I'd won something on, and we decided to bet one more before we called it a day.

In the seventh race I once again bet two horses, Santana Strings and Natural Speed. Natural Speed showed it late, but just finished out of the money behind Santana Strings, keeping my money winning streak alive.

It's the best day I'd ever had on our horse racing jaunts, and we topped it off with the Nighthawk special at the downtown Lexington Columbia Steakhouse location.

While the day belonged to Dawn since we were celebrating her birthday, as Polar's car headed westbound on I-64 back toward Da Ville I began humming Ice Cube's Today Was A Good Day while pondering the wonderful one I'd had as well.


Polar said...

It was a good day, indeed. I didn't win, and my hind paws are still sore, but Keeneland is always a great day out. It is quintessentially Kentucky in the best sense, and a fantastic venue for people watching.

Monica Roberts said...

It was definitely a nice day.

I'll also have to not let four years elapse between visits.