Friday, August 18, 2006

A Day at the Races

If live horse racing was a year-round activity in Humboldt County, I’d probably buy myself a plaid sport coat, subscribe to the Daily Racing Form and spend at least one day a week at the track.

But in Humboldt, we only have horse racing two weeks out of the year during the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale.

We made our annual trip yesterday and, compared to years past, we were pretty successful.

Being that we’re completely ignorant about the sport, our methodology for selecting horses is about as scientific as voodoo.

First, we look at the names. If a particular name jumps out at us, we bet on it.

Sometimes this works, but not always. In the third race I had a hunch that a mule named Candyman would place. Why? Because the “Candyman can,” as the song goes. But this “Candyman” couldn’t even get in the starting gate and was scratched.

In another race I based my bet on the horse inspection. I don’t recall its name, but one horse was very calm and its butt was shaved in a checkerboard pattern. It looked like someone put a lot of time into that horse’s ass. If they put the same effort into its training, perhaps it would be a winner. So I bet $2 on the horse to win, and it did.

I generally bet $6 per race – $2 to win, $2 to place, $1 exacta and $1 trifecta.

I didn’t win any exactas or trifectas, but I did win several wins and places.

In the sixth race I made out like a bandit. I liked the name Oregon Miracle, plus it was very calm upon inspection, so I picked it to win. My $2 turned into about $7.40. Even better was a horse named Breaking Contact in the same race. I selected this horse to place because it had terrible odds. It was a long shot. It placed and I won about $31. (Note: I didn’t write down the exact numbers, so these are rough estimates.)

After several drinks, a full day betting, junk food and some arcade games, we called it a day. Total damage: $19.

The gambling paid for itself, and then some. It was good fun and if it wasn’t for my work duties, I’d return this weekend.

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