Monday, October 12, 2009

The Perils of Gambling

I don't know exactly what I was thinking. My luck has never been what anyone would call good, especially when it comes to predicted outcomes. So why I thought it would be a good idea to go to Keenland Racetrack last weekend to play the ponies with my best girl friends - I don't know.
Now before I go any further let me state, without a doubt, that we had a really great day. The weather not only held, but actually turned out to be pretty darn good. We all looked smokin' hot, if I do say so myself. And, more importantly, we had escaped our everyday lives, if only for a day, to celebrate the impending end to one of our good friend's bachelorette days.
The trouble started at the first race. Being a native Kentuckian, I am somewhat familiar with the horse racing industry. I know what the odds are, what exactly a furlong is, the difference between fillies and mares, and I even half-assedly follow a couple of different jockeys. And I could even tell you what it means to win, place, or show and what it means when they list super-fecta, tri-fecta, and exacta winnings. So you would think that I could look at a betting sheet and over the course of 10 races at least manage to come out even, give or take a few bucks. You would be wrong.
Every horse I picked came in dead last. Seriously. One race I picked two different horses, thinking to increase my odds. They came in last and next to last.
The first race I bet $5 on Call It The Blues to win place or show. Led the race for almost a mile then dropped to dead last like he was doing it on purpose. Race 2, I bet on Hot Little Mama because, I mean come on. The name says it all. Repeat of last race. At this point I have lost a small amount of money, but I'm not worried. It's only the third race. My luck's bound to pick up, right? So I bet on Sweet Lemon Chello. This time, she doesn't even make a showing. Starts last and ends last. All right, this is about enough. So I decide to set out race four and just reset my luck a little. I just set back, watching all my friends rake it in. WTF? But, I don't begrudge them any of it ( really, I don't) I just want a little bit of the taste of victory for myself.
So next up comes race 5. Here's where I start to employ a little strategy - so to speak. I look at the odds and carefully choose two horses who appear not to suck too much. Everybody knows that you never bet on a favorite, even if they win, the odds were so good that you almost never win any money. So I put down another $5 on an Irish horse with decent 8-1 odds, that should pay out pretty decent and $5 on a 20-1 horse that had bad odds, true, but was being ridden by a jockey with a better than average track record. This was the infamous last, next to last finish. Meanwhile, my friend (The Bride, BTW) bets $20 on Lucky #7 because, get this, she left her program laying open on the bench while she went to the powder room and a bird came along and, shall we say -picked, it for her. She won. The odds for that particular horse were 5-2, so she didn't win whole lot, but still. I mean, really. People who find bird poop on their programs are now considered to be luckier than me?
At this point I did what any sane Kentuckian would do. I started drinking. Piss on them ponies. If I'm going to throw my money away, I ought to at least enjoy it, right? So I proceed to the Equestrian Bar, a Keenland tradition, where I proceed to consume no less than six (yes - really) Bourbon Manhattans. Say what you will about Kentucky, but the liquor sure is fine and in Lexington my drink was done up right. A whole lot of Bourbon (Woodford Reserve, for those keeping score) and very little Manhattan (sweet vermouth).
The next five races were enjoyable if unprofitable and all in all I had one of the best days out with the girls that we've managed to have in a while.
The moral of this story is this. Don't gamble unless your prepared to lose. And don't prepare to lose with out preparing to drink.

p.s. I didn't totally blow my diet. I had no lunch and I walked off my drink with a nearly mile and a half walk tot he car, followed by a 30 minute drive to the restaurant where I had grilled salmon and broccoli and vast quantities of water. Not the best day nutritionally but, hey. Life happens, you know?

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