A Day at the Races: Another unsuccessful betting excursion at Tampa Bay Downs

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know a lick about horseracing, which is a shame considering I come from a long line of gamblers.  I’ve always held my own at jai-alai, poker, sportsbook and the dogs but the big win at the horse track has always eluded me.

So when a buddy invited me to Tampa Bay Downs for the day, I decided to try my luck once again.  He had just won $900 on a Saints future and was eager to put some of that back on the board… and drink a fair amount of Crown Royal in the process.

We rolled into the dog track last Wednesday around noon, as convinced as everyone else out there it would be our lucky day.  I knew my money would be much better invested at the adjoining poker room but that was a day for the great outdoors.

But how to bet?  This is what I’ve never been able to figure out with the horses.  Do I go strictly by the information on the program?  By the jockey’s record?  Do I go by the color of the horse?  Its size?  Its number?  Its odds?  Its name?  When betting the ponies, I’m about as clueless as well… pretty much the most clueless thing you can imagine.  I might as well be picking numbers out of a hat, a technique I have not yet employed but am seriously starting to consider.  I couldn’t do any worse.

I placed my first bet of the day, based on the look of the horses as they approached the starting gate and the odds up on the board.  Personally, I love a long underdog.  I know they’re an underdog for a reason but whenever I see big numbers up on the board, it’s all I can do not to box that horse with a favorite or two to ensure a nice payout.

Memo to reader:  This NEVER works!  At least it hasn’t for me.  It might work at the dogs.  It definitely works at jai-alai.  It pays quite handsomely in football and basketball, but at the horse track, I have (shall I capitalize the word NEVER again for emphasis?) NEVER won a race this way.  As it turns out, that afternoon I was better served filling in the coloring book I found at one of the rest areas.

The rest of the day included me losing every single race I bet on, whether it was betting single horses to win, place, show or putting my money on multi-horse boxes.   I couldn’t find a groove or a system.  Apparently, I need to pick up Horse Betting for Dummies from my local Barnes and Nobles.

Either way, a good time was had by all, despite the trail of crumpled up tickets that lay by my feet at the end of the day.

Do not fret, reader.  The story does have a happy ending.  We ended up making our money back by taking Maryland over East Carolina and laying the 6.5 in Ralph Friedgen’s last game as their head coach, and then hitting an NBA three-teamer later that evening (Utah, Denver and Miami all minus the points).

Maybe I should just stick to what I know best.  Sounds to me like a much wiser investment.

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26 thoughts on “A Day at the Races: Another unsuccessful betting excursion at Tampa Bay Downs

  1. Pingback: A Day at the Races: Another unsuccessful betting excursion at Tampa Bay Downs, Other Sports | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Chris

    I use to be a big time gambler when I actually had money to burn . That was after I came out of the military and landed a job with a major bank (M&A mergers &acquisitions investment banking) . At that time I was earning a meaningful wage and with an expense account to boot. So betting on things like soccer games , Wimbledon , fights and the ponies was a love of mine.

    My father taught me all I needed to know about the ponies as what to look for in terms of form and the actual type of race the horse was being entered into. That sums up my existence at the time as it involved the world of gambling. Won big and at times lost big but I knew when to call it quits . Not so for some of my buddies way back then as one or two of ’em at times would literally end up losing the very shirt of their backs.

    Has Frank Beamer ever won a meaningful game in his life ? The Hokies were pitiful against Stanford last night ! And we wonder why he’s overrated in spite of stats in terms of active wins amongst current coaches ?

    The only Bowl Game that really matters is BCS title game and that’s it ! The rest of these games are just a money ran thing !

    Are Bagwell and Roberto Alomar deserving of a place in Cooperstown ? They’re both up for balloting this year by BBWAA. Given that neither has been tainted as such by the ‘steroid era ‘ ….. even if many of their peers have been . Palmeiro still reiterates that he’s never taken steroids and blames Tejada for the fact he tested positive because it was Tejada he states who gave him that alleged drug. Who the hell takes something from a teammate merely on a say so given that at the time MLB was conducting testing for PED’s ? Palmeiro makes Sean Kemp seem like a member of MENSA !

    tophatal …………

  3. I love going to the track, but I didn’t hit a single race last season. I’m waiting until my bank account recovers from Christmas and then I’ll be back throwing money at the ponies. Oh well, you can’t take it with you and besides this might be my year.

  4. Secant Quad, huh? You’ll have to splain, Lucy. Is that anything like your craps system?

    Oh, FYI. Played about two plus hours of Let it Ride poker with Puckett this weekend. Where the hell were you?

  5. Al…

    I think I’m resigned to the fact that I’m just not a horse racing guy. It’s okay. Like I’ve said, I do pretty well at poker, blackjack and sportsbook. I think I just need to stay away from the horses.

    Re: Beamer, Al. He may have never won the big one, but he’s been there before with Vick and his Va Tech program ends up pretty consistently in the Top Ten every season. They’ve owned the ACC ever since joining the conference. I think he can pretty much write his own ticket at that school, man.

    And I’d say Alomar yes, Bagwell no and Palmeiro TBD.

  6. We had a good time, Aer, but losing does get tiresome. Even betting on the favorites, you’re only going to break even at best. What fun is that?

    That day, favorites were rolling every race and I just hate betting on a horse that’s coming back 2-5.

  7. Chris

    Beamer being there with Vick was like striking lightning in a bottle . Rarely does it happen a second time but then again Va Tech given the season they’ve had they should be thankful for small mercies .

    Neither Alomar or Bagwell have ever been caught up in any of the steroids’ allegations. I think what most people feel are that Bagwell’s stats on the face of it aren’t overly impressive . But take into account the team he was on the awards won and I think he’s deserving of the honor .

    Luck may well end up being the top of the NFL Draft come April that’s if Newton’s dad doesn’t have a say in it all .

    I can only hope that Harbaugh doesn’t leave Stanford to go to either the Raiders or Niners as there’s a dearth of work to be done and neither front office there knows a crap about the game !

    As marginal as both teams appear to be on paper what’s suspect has been the coaching and a lack of real talent in various sides of the ball !

    tophatal …………

  8. Chris

    By the way what do you feel ought to be the criteria for enshrinement into Cooperstown based on your own thoughts ?

    I know that you’ve longed felt that Rose ought to be enshrined . But given his antics and the fact that for so long he failed to act like a man rather he sought to lie then it’s obvious that his situation lies with his own dumb a_s actions.

    tophatal ………………

  9. The first time I ever went to a track I hit a trifecta box and won about $600. Ever since then I can’t win anything except picking a winner here and there…

    My strategy is to watch the horses walk out and pick a few of them based on if I like the way the look or not. One thing I don’t do is bet on a horse that walks all sideways. Those ones scare me haha. Just reading your post made me want to make a trip to Del Mar and catch some races. Too bad it’s not in season right now!!

  10. Here are Bagwell’s numbers per http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bagweje01.shtml

    15 seasons
    2314 hits
    449 HRs
    1529 RBIs
    .297 BA
    1991 ROY
    1994 MVP

    Never led the NL in homers. Led the league only once in RBIs. Guess we have Bonds to thank for that.

    Without analyzing who’s in and who’s out, Al, I’d say definitely not first ballot, fringe vote for sure, but more impressive numbers than I originally thought.

    Probably a wait-til-next-year sort of thing, but a potential shoo-in with all the guys who were juicing and Cooperstown wanting to have a ceremony for someone eventually.

  11. Cam Newton won’t be drafted in the first round, Al. Luck and Mallett will. I hear Andy Dalton is even climbing up the ranks.

    And interesting that you mention Harbaugh leaving Stanford to the Niners. Made me think of how I would feel if Spurrier, or even Meyer, had scooted only a hundred or so miles to coach the professional team I also rooted for.

    Can we think of how many times that’s been done? I drew a blank.

  12. Al…

    As we’ve debated before, Rose remains outside the Hall for the obvious reasons. Just like Joe Jackson, if not more so, he cheated the game.

    Personally, I’ve always thought Cooperstown was a little too harsh, definitely more so than Canton or Springfield.

    But they established a precedent so they might as well stay consistent with their historical lack of reasoning.

  13. Chap…

    The next time People Under the Stairs perform live pre-race at Del Mar, let me know.

    I’ll be on the first space shuttle out there. We might even catch a Warriors game afterward.

  14. Chris

    There are players enshrined in Cooperstown with far less impressive stats than Bagwell. As to the BBWAA (Baseball Writers of America) who adjudicate the nominees. I wouldn’t trust those guys with a pot to pi_s in much less a window to throw it out of !

    You say that Newton won’t be taken in the first round but I think that some team in need of a qb will risk take a flier on the guy merely for the press it garners them. After all what about Leinart and Vince Young how’ve their careers worked out in the NFL with all of the perceived hype surrounding their college careers ?

    As for Beamer merely because he’s amongst the most active coaches in the top 10 in terms of wins at present. In terms of the Hokies’ program they’ve won nothing and more often than not have met the downside of expectations.
    Can’t put it anymore succinctly than that ! Bowl Games being what they are unless the team is contending for national championships and or one of the major
    BCS Bowl
    games then no kid really takes in an interest in attending that school. Even you’ve got to admit that ?

    tophatal ………..

  15. Since the Vick era with the Hokie what has that program done ? And Beamer may well have his supporters but to me he’s simply the ACC’s version of Joe Pa
    ! I’m not saying that the game has yet passed him be but it’s getting there .

    tophatal ……….

  16. HA! I wish they would play there! PUTS has a show coming up in the OC that I’m going to go to Friday with the girlfriend, and Sunday I’m hitting up a Warriors-Clippers game at Staples Center! IF you somehow made it out here on your space shuttle this weekend, we could knock two of those three out. I guess we could even hit up the Santa Ana race track since that one is open right now to go 3 for 3!

  17. Al…

    The Cooperstown gang is definitely questionable at best. More interestingly, however, I think we’ll start to see more of the fringe players, whose names were never associated with steroids, gain entry over the next couple of years. After all, the Hall has to vote somebody in, don’t they?

    I’m not so sure I agree with you on Newton, man. Look at all the crap Denver got for drafting Tebow, a similar style of QB.

    And re: Beamer, Al, I think there’s a whole lot of more pinheads out there, RichRod and the like, that make guys like Beamer look a hell of a lot better with every passing incident.

  18. Chap…

    Don’t tempt me with a good time. That sounds AWESOME!!!!!

    Unfortunately, I missed the power ball numbers last night so it’s back to slinging cocktails for a living.

  19. Chris

    Sooner or later Beamer will be ran out of town just the way Fulmer was withe Vols. Winning is everything ….. remember that . Being the bridesmaid counts for nothing unless she’s getting laid by the best man . or one of the groom’s men .

    And that’s simply been what the Hokies have been about . They’ve in essence becomes everyone’s form of gratification in one form or another .

    If Hokies’ fans can’t realize that by now then they’re not as smart as they believe themselves to be !

    Is There Trouble In Paradise Or Simply Something The Press Would Like To Have Us Believe ?

    As far as Cooperstown now goes it’ll be tough on the players with legitimate credentials to even get whiff in. And that includes local boy McGriff.

    As to the draft and the qb’s who may well make themselves available as long as they’re not being touted by Kiper I’ll give them their due.

    tophatal ………

  20. I don’t see it, Al. Fulmer had let that program go. He went 5-6, 9-4, 10-4 and 5-7 his last four seasons. Beamer hasn’t been anywhere near that dreadful.

    Sure Va Tech lost to James Madison this season but they didn’t lose another game after that until Stanford, going went undefeated in conference.

    I may be working on a baseball HOF post soon, so stay tuned.

    And I do believe Luck and Mallett will both be top ten picks. The question is whether Andy Dalton will be drafted before Cam Newton.

  21. I figured it was a longshot. Unfortunately I missed my powerball numbers too 🙁

    I’m really excited to see Griffin live this weekend. I’m sure I’ll have a post about it come Monday!

  22. Pingback: Sports Chump » SportsChump 2011 Year in Review

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