Monday, July 29, 2013

A Day at the Races

Normally, J and L are not gamblers - not the type to lay down hard earned money on a game of chance but when the opportunity to watch the 'ponies' run at Betfair Hollywood Park we put away our hesitancy and took up the call. An hour from home and a fortune awaiting - one would shudder to think of turning down this dream come true.

Two of our daughters, Erica and Jessica (along with our son-in-law Justin and Erica's boyfriend Brandon), invited us to the horse racing track in Inglewood, California for a Saturday afternoon of placing two dollar bets on various horses in the nine races scheduled for that particular day we couldn't resist. Mint juleps, million dollar horses, celebrities - okay - a beer, homemade sandwiches and sunscreen was the fare of the day.

The Crew - Laureen was the photographer

Oh, what a day it turned out to be watching the real betters pouring over horse racing newspapers all the while jotting down notes after not examining every written stat or word on the horse and rider.

We watched, studied, learned and discussed. We were in the midst of a multi-million dollar industry and would benefit from it.

With names like Salt Tequila Lime, Bugsky, U R My Candy Girl, Include the Cat, and Apostle Paul, who wouldn't want to slap down a couple of dollars and watch these four-legged wonders sprint around the mile and a quarter track? We did and did.

The weather was perfect for such an event - warm but not roasting, little if any wind, a few clouds to make the skyline look like a painting and by mid-afternoon comfortable enough to sit in a booth built for six. Overlooking the grass infield with water fountains, a large man-made lake, and towering trees made the event ever more spectacular.

As once mentioned in an earlier article about a first rodeo, this too was a first for the team from J and L - a horse race. Something we had wanted to do for years but never gotten around to.

It was a great treat.

 Again, being folks who don't throw money away, we were choosy with the horses we bet on. Studying the statistics, looking over the weight differences, if the horse ran better on dry or wet ground, seeing who the jockey was, watching the pros around us - okay - we chose the horse to bet on by their names.

Not exactly scientific but a fun way to bet when you don't have a clue on being a handicapping guru.

Two dollar bets were slapped down on Beautiful Strike, Sensational Niki, Sizzling Gold, Citizen Jane, Scatman Blues, and others with such alluring names.

John R. Beyer with the winning ticket - doubt it!
Laureen Beyer ready to spend the winnings

When the gates opened and the hooves thundered we could imagine the payoffs for some of these 'ponies' with high odds. 15 to 1, 12 to 1 - we were going to make a fortune.

We suddenly learned as the horses sprinted across the finish line why some of them have such high odds.

They can't or won't win.

J felt as though he had been betting on cows. "Stupid cows," was his favorite expression as the horse he bet on labored in lengths behind the lead horses and torn betting chips fluttered to the ground along with the image of winnings.

Overall though, it was an exciting day and J and L would highly recommend that any explorer or traveler take a day out of their lives to spend it at a horse racing track. Friendship, excitement, being outdoors is what life is about - throw a couple of bucks down and enjoy.

And don't forget the hats
Of course, common sense dictates: bet sensibly, wisely and stay away from cows.

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