Monday, June 13, 2011


When we got to the track on Saturday morning, it was overcast and there was a strange feeling about the day ahead. We went and grabbed our spots, we put taken cards down for Sandman, Stu the swimming coach and Mush. We even saved a seat for these three guys that Sandman likes to refer to as the Three Stooges.

The Three Stooges are these three guys that come and sit together and make believe that they are the ultimate handicappers. They listen to the radio talk shows and whatever is given out over the air is what they bet. As Sandman says, "A Stooge bet." The Stooges also have no money management skills. One Stooge threw a wad of cash at a longshot and lost and then threw four bucks at a 3-5 favorite and made 50 cents. As Sandman says, "What a Stooge!" Here is the funny part, two of the Stooges are retired teachers from the LA Unified School District. And we wonder about the future of our children. One Stooge has been a schoolteacher and a peanut vendor at Dodger Stadium. There was one Stooge that didn't show up on Saturday. This Stooge is the Moe of these guys. He is always banging something, screaming and going at it with the other Stooges, hence the reason he is Moe. Sandman confided in us on Saturday in that he thinks that Stu the swim coach is on the cusp of being a Stooge.

Stu the swimming coach is a very nice guy. He actually is a swimming coach. He is at the track whenever he isn't coaching. Stu is not a big bettor, he places four dollars here and four dollars there. He plays favorites and he is happy when he wins. He wins quite often but he is not going to retire on his winnings. He likes the action and he likes horse racing. As Sandman says, "Stu has one Stooge tendency, he gets to the track when it opens and he is gone in a few hours. It is as though he has to get home and go to bed by five o'clock. What a Stooge." I have to concur, I never see Stu very long at the track.

We get ourselves situated and I opened my racing form to Belmont. I was going to just play Belmont Park because I have always done well there. I notice that Belmont is listed as sloppy and I really don't like playing sloppy tracks but I figured that the rest of the country was being rained on and I was going to take my chances. The second race at Belmont is a Maiden Special Weight and I play an exacta. I win the exacta and it pays $48.00. I am also still alive on the start of my Pick 3. The day is starting out pretty good. After this race, the Stooges show up, Sandman shows up but Mush is nowhere in site.

Hollywood Park is getting a little crowded and seats are at a premium. The peanut vendor Stooge is sitting  two rows ahead of us and he has brought with him a guest Stooge. These two were sitting next to these two yokels who were consistently screaming at the TV screen. Not a problem with screaming but for corns sake get the right horses. This one guy, who I will call Fred Sanford, was screaming during this one race, "I told you, I told you, the 9 is running away with it. You should of listened to me, you dummies." Problem was, the 9 was nowhere in the front. Fred Sanford could not see. This went on all day. I guess peanut Stooge's friend got up and when he came back, Fred Sanford was sitting in his seat. Peanut Stooge's friend decided that he was just going to pick a fight. Fred Sanford got up and both of these yokels were dancing around as though either of them stood a chance. Let me remind you, both of these guys are in their late 60s. They circled each other, both of them shadow boxing and talking all sorts of mush. A few swings were thrown. Who they were swinging at was a good guess. Come on, Fred Sanford couldn't see the TV screen in front of him and Peanut Stooge's friend had prescription binoculars. After a minute, they both got winded and called it a draw. Of course, I am laughing like an idiot and Sandman says, "What Stooges!!!!"

Well, the day goes on and the third race from Belmont goes off and I play another exacta and I win $17.20. Yipee, two for two and I am still alive in the Pick 3. The fourth race starts and I have played an exacta and a trifecta. I hit the exacta, the tri and bingo the Pick 3, giddy-yup. The exacta pays 29.60, the tri paid $190.00 and the Pick 3 paid 113.50. So far so good. I am up a good 300 dollars.

Off in the distance, I see this large man dressed in a yellow shirt, khaki shorts and loafers with no socks. I have seen this ensemble before and it can only be one person. I do not want this person any where near my mojo right now. Yep, it's Mush and he is heading our way. He gets to us with a ticket in his hand and screams, I can't hit a god damn thing. He crumbles the ticket and tosses it in the trash and storms off. I don't think he made eye contact with me so I might be good. But I am nervous because the next race, I really like these two longshots.

I make my way to the window. The window that I was going to all day, superstition plays a big part in this game, had the one and only Mush standing in its path. I can not chance this. I must veer off and find another lucky window. I make my bet and sit down and just hope Mush does not appear. I was not Mushed on this one, I hit the exacta and it paid, $142.00. I am happy with the start of this day, so I am going to sit and watch some races and wait for the Belmont Stakes to start.

As the day progressed, we had one more Mush siting. He came over to Sandman and was so happy. He showed all of us the 43 dollars that he had won. He probably won a lot more than that but after he paid off all the people that he owed money to, 43 dollars was all that was left. He then left because he had a hot tip, you know how that goes. One of the Stooges had a live ticket on a daily double. He had singled the second horse, a 3-5 favorite. He won and made a whopping 10 cents. Sandman screamed over at him, "Now that was a complete Stooge bet!!!!" Just as the prices came up on the board, this Stooges' cell phone rings and someone screams to this Stooge, "Hey, answer your phone, it's the IRS and they want a cut of your 10 cents."

It was now a half hour before the Belmont Stakes and if you recall my earlier blog, I was going to put a superfecta ticket together. This ticket included, Ruler on Ice, Shackleford, Prime Cut, Nehro, Mucho Macho Man and Animal Kingdom. If you remember, I was really big Stay Thirsty fan in the Derby but because I was Mushed on that one, I did not include him. Since, I had the houses cash, I played my longshot play, 10 dollars across the board on Ruler on Ice. When the Belmont goes off, Animal Kingdom almost takes a header and he never recovers from there. Shackleford is the lone speed and Ruler on Ice is sitting second and stalking the pace. When they reach the top of the stretch, I am thinking that Shackleford is going to step it up a notch and Ruler on Ice will be passed by. To my surprise, Shackleford runs out of gas. I was expecting that Shackleford was going to be in the mix, not completely out of it.  Ruler On Ice takes the lead and holds off, Stay Thirsty (Damn that Mush) and Brilliant Speed. Well I had the first and fourth place in my superfecta. Even if I had Stay Thirsty on my ticket, I did not have Brilliant Speed, so my superfecta was a losing ticket. The superfecta paid  $74,052.00. Not a bad price. I didn't win the super but I had an un-Mushed ticket worth $455.00 in my pocket.

It was a great day and fun was had by all. My wife's birthday is this week and as I left the track, I decided that I am going to buy her the iPad that she wanted.

As I was walking into the Apple store, I could hear Sandman saying, "Now this, is not a Stooge move!!"

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