The gambling bug. Don’t have it at all. Which makes an evening at Sam Houston Race Park pure entertainment at a cost of $26 or less. Here’s how it went.
We arrived Saturday evening before the racing started and paid our $6 admission. Checked out the horses in the saddling paddock. Looked at the race program and picked my favorite name in Race 1. Put a $20 bill in the machine and placed a $2 bet on If Dirtweredollar to win. Walked outside and watched If Dirtweredollar come in second. Threw away betting slip. Watched the horses for Race 2 walk by. Looked at the race program and selected Whizinonbyya. Walked to the paddock. Went inside, put in my $18 voucher and placed a $2 bet on Whizinonbyya to win. Walked outside and watched Whizinonbyya come in third. Threw away betting slip. Rinse and repeat.
I’m really not there to win money. I think it’s more fun to ponder and select my favorite name that it is to look at stats or previous wins or even ask for advice from Cary’s friend who owns a racehorse and knows many of the others who were racing that night. There’s just enough time to daydream about what I’ll spend my winnings on, but not enough time to actually believe that any of this matters. Next time I’m taking a pedometer to see how far I walk in an evening of making loops through the facility. Yes, I pretty much always bet on a horse to win – who cares about second or third place – I want to pick a winner! Odds, shmodds.
Then I got on a roll. For Race 3 I was totally going with Dixie Dust until she was scratched. Second choice was Favorite Flavor who came through for me with a win. She was the favorite and my $2 bet returned a whopping $3.80. Race 4 had a literary name, Katesexpectations, but she needed a little more please, sir. Race 5 featured the friend’s horse, Normandy Shore aka Norm. But my favorite name of the group was Gold Coyote. I couldn’t not bet for Norm, so I bet a quinella, which is picking the 1,2 horses in either order. Gold Coyote won, Norm placed, and I scored $10.40.
My luck was over for the evening, but the names kept sounding so good. Elenista (in honor of daughter #2) was sure to win Race 6 except she was scratched, so I went with Love Chamonix (in honor of a friend I’ve been thinking about lately who has a dog named Chamonix.) My pick for Race 7, Sand Dusty, was jinxed when husband said, “Isn’t that a twist on the name of a town in Michigan?” (No, Ohio.) definitely channelling both daughters in Race 8 with I’m Special. Apparently, not so much. Caloosahatchee struck my fancy in Race 8, but he ran like the slow-moving river that I was envisioning. High Grade Jewel finished out my betting voucher, but knocked and sputtered to a last place finish.
Husband fared better than I did. He picked Sum Gracie (in honor his sister’s dog) and the other gray horse racing, Sara’s Wild, to finish 1,2 in Race 6. Then he won $55 picking longshot Grand Move to win in the 7th. Adding to his tension and then satisfaction was that Race 7 had two challenges which had to be ruled on before Grand Move was officially declared the winner.
My dad played golf infrequently and if you ever asked him how his round of golf was he invariably replied, “It was a beautiful day.” So how’d I do at the track? It was a beautiful evening. And actually it was, the weather was perfect, the company was fine, the people watching was above average, and the horses were all beautiful animals. So we’re not buying a new car this week with our winnings, but you can do a lot worse for your entertainment dollar than a night at the races. Riders up!