Sunday, April 24, 2011

Racetrack Tradition

--Andy Belfiore

Did I miss a memo somewhere? Isn’t it an age-old tradition that if you leave your Racing Form behind when you go off to make a bet, or get a beer maybe, you’re going to find it just where you left it, saving your seat, when you get back? I’m pretty sure that started back when Ben Hur was 4-5 to take the Premio Pontius Pilate, and the chariot fans dropped their Daily Racing Scrolls when they went to lay down a few prutah on number XLI. So, making a first visit to Churchill’s Trackside Saturday, I trustingly left my Form at my table and went to bet Gulfstream’s Rainbow Pick 6. And when I got back—eight minutes later—it was gone. I was outraged. “Really?? Someone stole my Form??” I actually said it out loud. And four very sheepish-looking gents at the next table copped to taking it. They claimed they thought I’d left. Ha! I explained the error of their ways and, hopefully, this won’t be happening again.

Did you know that the chariot scene took three months to film, used 15,000 extras and required an 18-acre set? Fascinating what you can find out on Wikipedia.

Trackside is, by the way, the Aqueduct of Kentucky, except the Rastas have Southern accents. Just kidding…no Rastas. But the pizza did take me right on back to Ozone Park.

As for my Rainbow Pick 6 ticket…my buddy and I anted up $48 each and, admittedly using mostly his picks, that $96 ticket was still live for the last leg. We had the 1-6-12. It came in 5-1-6-12. Burned. By a jock who was 0-for-the-Interstate.

I made it to Churchill Easter morning. Unfortunately, the skies opened up about 10 minutes before the Derby and Oaks horses hit the track for their segregated training time. There were a couple of workmanlike breezes over the sloppy strip from Stay Thirsty, in company with Bridgetown, and Mucho Macho Man, alone and sporting fleece on his yoke that was snowy white when he hit the track and covered in mud when he got back to the barn. Glad I don’t have to do his laundry. The horse that really caught my eye was Oaks filly Joyful Victory. She was the first one out there, and she galloped around like she owned the joint.

There are flood warnings in the forecast, so I don’t know how much action there will be on the track the next few mornings. But now we know why Nick Zito is still in sunny Florida with Dialed In.


Anonymous said...

Funny stuff Andy. I remember first learning the "newspaper stuck in a seat saves the seat" racetrack rule back in the Chariot Race days at Yonkers Racetrack eons ago when I tried to take a couple of saved seats of a couple of old curmudgeon's while on a first date with a girl whose name I don't remember. I was properly chastised when they returned. My date couldn't understand why we gave up without a fuss but then again she wasn't a real racetracker. BTW your friend must be a pretty good handicapper to come that close to the Pick-6 for only $96. Eagerly awaiting more Derby updates. Have fun in Kentucky.

The_Knight_Sky said...

The increased cost of the Daily Racing Form has something to do with bettors "recycling" that day's edition amongst themselves.

I'm sure they meant no harm. ;-)

I wouldn't be caught ever leaving my carrel without leaving a note: "Do Not Touch".
That serves a dual purpose a) scare off pp's recyclers b) caution cleaning ladies who simply cannot keep their hands off my goods.

On more than one occasion the cleaning gals have forced me to scour the trash can to recover my belongings. So I've vowed not ever to look like a "stooper" at the track ever again. Seems to be working. Mark your possessions.