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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