Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Suffolk Downs - Yes, I Took Him There

It was Belmont Stakes day at Suffolk Downs.  I'll Have Another was still the odds on favorite to win the triple crown with Bodemeister sitting this one out on Thursday.  And instead of deciding to go to the Belmont itself (Yes, a couple of friends and I were thinking about it, forgetting we have wives and kids amid our beer swilling a couple of weeks ago), we decided to have a party at the house instead. As I was thinking about the entertainment we would have at the party, it dawned on me that we should do more gambling.  Just the excuse I needed to head to Suffolk Downs to place some bets on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Unlike a couple of years ago when we watched the 2010 Kentucky Derby in the rain and muck, we decided to leave the gambling to the pros.  Or should I say the handling to the pros.  Let's make an afternoon of it at the races and get the tickets from Suffolk Downs.  I would love to watch some horse racing, make some bets for friends in the Belmont and try to make a little bit of money.  As the time grew closer, it came down to a decision between mowing the lawn and going to Suffolk Downs to watch some racing...hmm.  I was giddy with that choice.  But then it happened.

"Dad?  Will you play catch with me or take me to the store to buy cards?"

And then a little louder.  "Dad?  Will you play catch with me or take me to the store?"

My arm was falling off from the night before at the baseball field.  I throw more than Daisuke Matzusaka in his Japanese League days.  My side hurts like someone took a baseball bat to my ribs.  I needed a break.  But I had an idea.

"G?"  I whisper to him to make him think I'm telling him something really important.  "Do you want to come somewhere with me and try to make some money.  But don't tell Mom we're going?"

"Where, Dad?"  He asks me.  My answer will make the difference between some serious arm pain and an enjoyable day at the races.

"A place where you can win a lot of money"  I appeal to his greedy, spendthrift ways, and it seems to be working.

"OK, but can I sit in the front seat?"  No.  Just get in the car if you want to go.  And he complies!  East Boston, here we come!

As we ride up to Boston, dodging texts from Mom, G starts to ask me what we're going to do to make money.  I then explained to him that we were going to go the horse races up in Boston.  I explained to him that I would make the bets and if we won, I would split my winnings with him.  I've never seen him so excited.  It's not like we were going to bet on the Pick Six, but that's ok, a couple bucks isn't too bad.  Luckily, as we walk in, I see other children milling around.  I'm not the only degenerate who takes his kids to the track.

We walk in just race number 2 is reaching post time.  I quickly look at the handicapping and pick a horse.  I probably should have let this one go, as our horse came in 4th.  I explain to G that our horse didn't win and it looked like someone stole his favorite stuffed animal  (don't tell him that I told you he still loves his stuffed animals).

So we start looking at Race #3 an 11,500 claimer.  The morning line favorites, Prayers at Mass and Siren's Song, didn't do anything for me.  But the 9-2 fourth favorite Casco Bay seemed to have a chance.  The horse seemed to have the pedigree to run this distance (6 Furlongs) and was dropping in class.  Plus it had the Maine connection with my kids.  I look at G who is hand deep in a bag of potato chips I bought for him.

"How do you like Casco Bay, the Number 3 horse?"

"OK Dad.  Can you buy me a soda, though?"  No.

But I do explain that if our horse wins, we will win 50 dollars on our 20 dollar bet.  Now he's getting excited.  "So that means 18 dollars for me and 12 dollars for you?"  Uh no, that is not "splitting it" big man.

But before he can say much more, the horses are off!   Our horse seems to have good placement, just behind the dueling leaders.  The crowd grows excited as we sit in the grandstand for this race.  As the horse turn for home, it looks like Casco Bay and Siren's Song are going to battle it out.  Casco Bay on the rail, Siren's Song on the outside!  Back and forth!  They are breaking away from the rests of the pack and are both 2 lengths clear of the field.  It looks like a nose bob might winnnnnnn it, and....I can't tell who won!  Photo finish between our horse and drugged up cheating horse.  G is sitting on the edge of his seat as I explain to him that the race was so close they don't know who won yet.

And we wait....

And our horse won by a nose!!  We high five and fist bump - not each other, but the old ladies next to us who also took our horse.  If we won more money, I may have hugged those old ladies.  Cigarette smell, bad teeth and all.  G is psyched as we collect our 33 dollars of winnings.  His hand is almost immediately out looking for his 17 dollars.  But this time, he tries talking me into giving him the 20 and I get 13 dollars.  As we're walking out, dodging texts from Mom about being late, G is jumping up and down.  Now he doesn't want to leave. 

"Dad can we come back on Wednesday when school is out?"  Sure, but this time you'll bet your own money, you degenerate.

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