Last Sunday was my 50th birthday and my wife asked me how I wanted to spend a milestone birthday. She asked if I wanted a big party and I said that the idea of the big party is great but you never get to spend time with everyone who attends and before you know it, the party is over. I decided I wanted to spend it doing one of my favorite hobbies, going to Santa Anita Racetrack. She asked where I wanted to go to dinner and I said that I had always wanted to go to the Derby Restaurant, which is 7 furlongs from Santa Anita.
Last Sunday you couldn't of asked for a more beautiful and picturesque day. The San Gabriel Mountains that forms the backdrop for the Great Race Place was crystal clear. Below is a picture I took during the first race at Santa Anita.
Back in October/November of 2011 I developed a system for handicapping races. It is a simple system that involves nothing but putting a few numbers in numerical order and subtracting. I have been using this system during all of my tips to the track and I have not had a losing day yet. I gave this system to a fellow worker, who has just started to go to the track, and in the three times she has visited the track, the system has come up a winner.
I began my racing day looking through the form and I found a few good betting interests and my system went 5 for 8 on the day. The two big bombs were a 14-1 shot and a 23-1 shot. Fun was had by all and when it was time to pack up, we were able to pack up with some money in our pockets.
When we left Santa Anita, we headed the seven furlongs down Huntington Drive until we got to the Derby Restaurant. We were a little early for our reservation so we decided to just go in and sit at the bar. We entered the Derby Restaurant and it was one of those old school steak houses with the high wooden ceilings, the wood paneling, fireplaces everywhere, the red leather booths and of course Sinatra playing overhead. We were pointed down a hallway to the bar. Lining one side of this hallway there was a glass case that caught my attention. In the first case was a tribute to Zenyata and her jockey Mike Smith. As you know, I am a big Mike Smith fan. They had pictures and trophies of Mike Smith's accomplishments in this case along with his signed boots and whip. In the other cases there were so many different tributes to the jockey's that have rode at Santa Anita, Laffit Pincay and George Woolf and one of the greatest horses, Seabiscuit.
It was fairly empty in the bar, there was a family eating dinner at a table and an older woman sitting at the bar. We decided to sit at the bar and the bartender came over and started to talk to us. She asked us if we had just come from the track and we said yes. The bartender engaged us in rose racing conversation and then introduced us to the older woman sitting at the bar as Elizabeth. She told us that Elizabeth is a trainer at Santa Anita. We exchanged pleasantries and our horse racing conversation began. We spoke about the nature of the game and where it is headed. I asked her very pointed questions in regards to diminishing crowds to slot machines. I gave her my views and to my surprise she was pretty much agreed with me. We ended up talking about horse racing for about 45 minutes. When we were about to be seated, Jeff Mullins came into the bar. I would of loved to have a conversation with him and see what he thinks but it was time to eat.
What a cool place to hang out in after the track. Everyone in the place likes to talk about horse racing and you never know who is going to stop in. The thing that I have noticed about the people in the horse racing business, they have no problem having a conversation with you about their business. Try that with any other sport and se where you get.