Saturday, May 5, 2012


The 138th Run for the Roses ended in an exciting charge to the finish line for the number 19 horse, I'll Have Another. There were a few things that made history during this race and they came from the winner and from the horse that finished second, Bodemeister.

The day started nice and early for me as I got to Hollywood Park at 7AM. When we got inside Hollywood Park, Stu the Swim Coach already had squared away the seating arrangements. Dave, John and myself were in one row, with Sandman sitting next to King Stooge and Stu the Swim Coach sitting next to him. Mush was on his own when it came to his seating assignments. The scratches were handed out to the lot of us by Stu and off we went into a handicapping frenzy.

I had already put our groups tickets together the night before. We were calling it the Kentucky Derby Retirement Trifecta. I purchased our voucher and punched in our numbers for our trifectas. The machine spit them out and placed them in my pocket. It was now 8 AM and the race wasn't scheduled to go off until roughly around 3 PM.

I went back to my seat to watch the show and handicap Woodbine. Just as I sat down, I hear this guy screaming at the top of his lungs, "Sandman!! Sandman!!" Off in the distance is this disheveled heavyset guy. He is wearing a blue stained polo shirt, khaki pants and topsiders with no socks. In his right hand is a beer. It could only be one person, Mush. Sandman asked him, "How do you have a beer already and you don't even have any money?" Mush laughed and walked over to my buddy Dave and asked to borrow 20 dollars because he had a hunch. Dave gave him 20 dollars and Mush ran off screaming, "I love you Dave."

The day continued and the system that I developed was doing real well at Woodbine but it wasn't fairing too well at Churchill. I was happy about two things, one was that I was cashing tickets at Woodbine and Mush was nowhere around to mush our trifecta tickets. Just when I thought it was safe, there was Mush standing right in front us. Mush says in a hushed tone, "I have another hunch, can I borrow maybe 15 dollars?" I'm not moving but Dave reaches into his pocket and gives him another 15. Mush tells Dave, "Don't tell Sandman." Mush takes the money and runs off. At least he didn't ask about the Derby.

The Derby is about to begin and we all have our opinions. Stu the Swim Coach is a different sort of person. Sandman calls him RA for "Root Against". Stu likes to root against anything you have. What gets Sandman all bent about this is that Stu bets 2 dollars across the board on a horse that will completely ruin your big ticket. Stu has 2 dollars riding across the board on Dullahan.

We are watching the race but the televisions at Hollywood Park are so bad it is hard to tell which horse was flying up to overtake Bodemeister and we sure couldn't tell who had third. We all realized that the 19 horse, I'll Have Another was first and that Bodemeister was in second. The bunch of us realized that I still had a live trifecta ticket and they were scrambling to find out who was third. Stu was howling for his 2 dollar bet on Dullahan to finish third. Stu was looking at making no money what so ever with his 2 dollar bet across the board. When we finally realized that the number 5 horse was third, Sandman said that I was RA'd and he told Stu that he should go cash his ticket for his $1.20 in winnings.

All in all, it is always fun and entertaining at the track but a lot did happen during this race. Bodemeister set records for the first three fractions that he recorded. They were blistering and he almost hung on to win. Give Mike Smith credit, he took the horse to the lead and set a blistering pace and challenged anyone to keep up. He gambled that his horse could keep that pace for the whole race and he lost that gamble but he did finish second. That speaks columns for the type of horse that Bodemeister is. I'll Have Another was the first horse to win coming from the 19 post. This was the first Derby win and start for 25 year old Mario Gutierrez.

In two weeks we will see if I'll Have Another can add to his march to the Triple Crown. In two weeks, we will have another episode of Sandman and the Stooges and hopefully another great Triple Crown Race, The Preakness.

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