Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Life's Been Crazy!

Midterm just passed, so I've been frantically grading essays and quizzes and bucking up for the inevitable meetings I'll need to have with some of my students. You know the one -- where the teacher draws you aside and says as kindly as possible, "You can't move into the next level of English without getting a 'C' or better in this class. At this point, it's no longer possible that you can. Let me encourage you to drop the class. That way, a 'W' shows up on your record instead of a 'D' or 'F.' And, you can start afresh next semester." I feel like a broken record saying this, but honestly with some of these kids, it's the best advice I can offer.

Now, back to the promised post about Breeder's Cup. Holy cow, what a day!

I got to Bay Meadows (walked there as planned), arriving around 9am. I placed a win bet on Indian Blessing, as planned, and then did a quick $8 Pick 4. I singled Indian Blessing in the first leg; in the second leg, I went with War Pass and Tale of Ekati; in the third leg, I chose Nashoba's Key and decided to add in Lahudood because of that horse's connections (same owner-trainer combination as last year's Horse of the Year and Classic Winner, Invasor); and in the last leg, I picked Smokey Stover and Midnight Lute.

Indian Blessing won, and then War Pass won.

Then came the third (the fillies and mares) and it was tough to see Nashoba's Key get passed. But, she hung in there and held on for 4th. Fortunately for me (AND, get this, for my partner, we'd both put her in a dime superfecta box!) We both hit it. It's a $2.40 bet which paid out $118.00. So I couldn't be that glum about Nashoba's Key, and my Pick 4 was alive to the last leg.

Smokey Stover didn't handle that nasty mudpit of a track at all, and Midnight Lute won. Then, the "INQUIRY" light starting flashing, and my heart sank. But then it was okay! The bone of contention didn't involve the winning horse, so my Pick 4 was safe. My partner and I ran down to the bar to see our favorite bartender, M, who watched the boards with us to see the payout. (I had already bought a Bloody Mary earlier with a $20 and then had her keep the change since I'd hit that little superfecta. It's a karma thang, don'tcha know?)

The payout on that $8 bet was $1,032.

Great! Wonderful! But to collect, I had to go home to get my social security card, because that's enough that the track has to report the win to the IRS. Boo. Hiss.

The rest of the day was one grand thing after another. We must've given away over $200 in tips just to our pals--J who seats us, J at Will Call, R in the paddock, and more love for M in the bar.

Betting continued to go well: I was alive once again to the Pick 4 when the Classic came up. (Two of the horses I'd singled the night before Breeder's Cup came in 2nd--Excellent Art and Hystericalady, so I was glad I'd chosen some alternates), but English Channel won like the chamption he is. For the Classic, I'd chosen three horses: Lawyer Ron, Street Sense, and Hard Spun. I was rooting quite loudly for Hard Spun as he went right to the front as he always does and was drawing away from the field on the turn, chugging right along in that slop. Then up came Curlin! Arrgh! Blew my Pick 4, but it was an awesome display of athleticism that I couldn't complain about. Losing to Curlin is nothing to regret, and I'm sure that muscular boy will get 2007 Horse of the Year.

At Bay Meadows itself, I won on a longshot named Welfare Cadillac and then an acquaintance of ours, Monty Armi, who owns several horses trained by Billy Morey, told us that if his horse won the next race, we could accompany him to the winner's circle to be in the owner and trainer's photo. That's always a hoot. He'd told us about his horse, Stephen Bruce, a couple weeks ago and said he'd had his race and was all set to win the next one. And true to his word, that horse killed the field. There was no catching him. Even Russell Baze was laughing afterwards with Monty Armi about there being no chance of catching him (Baze was on the horse that came in second).

The last awesome thing that happened was that there was a raffle going on, I believe, to benefit retired horses (or maybe it was retired jockeys), so we picked up a picture of Lost in the Fog that Russell Baze had signed along with 20 tickets, and my partner won the raffle! It was for a $100 gift certificate to the Saddle Shop in San Mateo, so we'll have to go gear up.

It was a great day. Of course, the only drawback was the one thing about horse racing that gets me down: George Washington broke down in the Classic. Such a shame. At least they put him right to sleep; he had shattered his leg that badly. The irony is that his owners were Barbaro's owners. The second irony is that they had taken him out of retirement to race again when he didn't work out as a stud. The Jacksons must be feeling a bit jinxed right now.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

UPDATE: Guess I'm not sticking to it! A reader emails a quick correction: Roy and Gretchen Jackson bred George Washington but weren't the owners. Aiden O'Brien was the trainer for owner Mrs. John Magnier. The horse also didn't break his leg; he actually broke both sesimoids - which are in the fetlock joint. She notes that it's a shame this turf horse wasn't scratched from an off, dirt track. On this, I'm sure we all agree.

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