11 October 2005

Pick 2 (or the NTRA Pick 4 in reveiw)

Living in a nearly cable-free house means:
a - we watch less tv.
b - we hardly ever see horseracing on tv.

But Saturday, NBC aired the 4 legs of the NTRA National Pick 4 on broadcast tv: the Frizette, the Lane's End Futurity, the Champagne, and the Shadwell Mile. It was a rare opportunity to watch racing from the comfort of my sofa, so, of course, I had to play along from home. In fact, I made a day of it, with the early afternoon spent in errands like picking up extra gin, a bottle of champagne (really, how can you watch a race named the Champagne without a glass of bubbly?), cheese, crackers, the works.

In the midst of my errands, I made a stop at the local OTB to play my picks for the Pick 4. The NTRA let me download free past performances for all of the races which I had diligently studied all morning long. With my notes in hand, I braved the mysteries of the OTB. Confidently, I approached the windows and told the nice lady behind the counter that I'd like to play the National Pick 4. After a minute the clerk and I had figured out how to do this (from which I surmised that no one in my neck of the woods plays this thing.) Soon, I had my ticket for Adieu, Laity, First Samarai, and Three Valleys, and I threw in an extra ticket for each of the races, just to keep it interesting. Since Keeneland offered a quinella on the 9th race (the Shadwell), I couldn't resist using Alinghi with Three Valleys. (Yes, I'm a sucker for fillies and low return bets.)

Though everyone is very nice at the OTB, it's just too darned quiet. Like a church during confession, or ... dare I say it, a library (before we added story time, computers, and other exciting, noisemaking activities.) And there's a sort of desperation in the air that made me glad I was off to more errands.

Let me tell you: there's nothing like walking around the grocery store with betting slips in your pocket. Hope whispers in your ear while you're squeezing the limes and checking the cheese selections.

We all know what happened: Dawn of War and Host upset two of the races on the ticket, resulting in $1 P4 paying $2,470.00 according to the NTRA website. My quinella was -- nothing. Even my show bet on Menacing in the Champagne was a wash.

The good news is:
a - Champagne dulls the pain of missing a show bet.
b - I don't have to make a special trip to the OTB to cash in my winners.