Sunday, August 13, 2006

A day at the races

Spur of the moment this afternoon, we decided to join some friends who were heading off to Arlington Park racetrack. Even though I used to work practically across the street from it, I'd only ever been to the racetrack once, and that was many years ago.

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect afternoon. A high of 79 degrees. Seats in the shade. And both Dave and I ended the day ahead. Not significant, but our entry fees and lunches were covered.

We arrived in time for the third race. Dave and I started with the same amount of money, and decided to compete to see who ended the day better.

I intended to start conservatively but messed up on the machine and ended up betting three times what I wanted. It was still a conservative bet, but I wanted to make my money last the day. Oh well. So, go Arwen's Angel! Turns out, she did. The little filly came in first, and I was off to a great start.

Fourth race was a loss for me, but Dave had the 9/2 Mud Shark finish first. Hmm... I was still up over Dave, but he was catching.

I lost count of Dave's wins from there, but by the eighth race, I'd widdled down my winnings so that I was losing to Dave by a couple dollars.

Then, came Sunset Kisses in the eight. She pulled me back into the lead. A sweet girl.

For the ninth and final race of the day, I was going to play it conservatively, going for the favorite, but on a whim, I added a $2 bet on a 20-1 shot to place or show. This is where it got fun. By the time the race started, my 20-1 shot was a 50-1 shot (out of a five horse field). My favorite was never a factor in the race, but my No. 5 horse, Golden Blade, came out strong and stayed strong. Second place pretty much the whole distance on the turf. Never faltered. Ended strong. A 50-1 shot!

For a second-place finish, a 50-1 shot doesn't pay off nearly as well as you'd think. But, regardless, it was sweet.

And I handily beat Dave. That's all that matters. :)

I'm sure there will be a rematch at Arlington Park some afternoon. I'll let you know.

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