24 January 2006

The perfect weekend

On Saturday, my husband and I escaped the black-and-gold hoopla of the Steel City to celebrate our wedding anniversary in the relative peace of the racetrack. For the special occasion, we made reservations at the Clubside Terrace, where we had a front row seat for a great night of racing.

More than half of the nine races had 9 or 10 horses in the field; only one had fewer than 7, and that was an odd allowance "For three year olds and upward which have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2005-2006." Some of my favorite horses were running -- Michener, a 10-year-old gelding, and Kerricat, a 5-year-old mare -- and, Loren Cox, trainer of the glorious Lady Grace, had two entries on the card. And, heavens to Betsy, the weather was kind of warm. What more do you need?

Well, yes, a gin-and-tonic, but they have those, too.

It was one of those nights where it seemed that we knew every winner -- and so did everyone else. Kerricat, who's won every time I bet her, paid 60 cents on a $2 wager. Something Fierce, ridden by track leader Rex Stokes, paid less than 2 to 1. It's on nights like this when an exotic just seems like the right thing to do. And it was. We started the evening with an exacta win in both the first and second races, not big payoffs, but enough to cover the cost of the dinner buffet and drinks. The rest of the night was gravy.

However, I'm still kicking myself for my bet in the 7th -- or rather, the bet I didn't make. North of Dixie, trained by the aforementioned Cox, had all the little extras that I look for in a horse: my favorite trainer (Cox), my favorite jockey (Rex Stokes), and even one of my favorite sires (Dixieland Band). But I just couldn't put money down in a 1-mile claiming race on a horse whose speed figure was 20 points lower in every mile race listed in his past performances. So of course, Stokes gave him a great ride (to quote the chart: "rider smartly elected to rate back to stalk down the backside while saving ground, sat patient to near the quarter pole, came off the rail to rally four wide entering the stretch, vied racing between foes in upper stretch, drew off under strong handling in the final sixteenth")-- and I felt just a tad foolish.

Yet I didn't mind at all when I put $2 down on the 2 horse in the 8th race. Sure, he was going off at 30-1 for a trainer I don't know -- and in his last race he came in 28 lengths behind the leader. On your anniversary, if no other time, you gotta put $2 down on Tonz of Love.

To cap off the lovely weekend, those wonderful warriors of the gridiron, our beloved Steelers, won the AFC championship on Sunday. Since our wedding reception was held in a bar with a big screen tv so that the entire wedding party could watch the Steelers win the Super Bowl -- it was a perfect weekend.


Tote Board Brad said...

Anniversary at the Track? Your husband is one lucky fella!

suebroux said...

How is that you get to have a nice evening at the Clubside Terrace with your husband and enjoy racing? If I bring my husband to the track, he just wants to sit back in the Post Time Pavilion, drink a bunch of beers, smoke a pack of Dorals, eat a plate of nachos, and bet every longshot from Sam Houston to Balmoral? You lucky gal!

Teaman said...

A belated Happy Anniversary QQ !! Glad you had some luck at the windows. Too bad it didn't happen in the 8th, but I loved your handicapping "strategy". I would have done the same..and if he was gray..I'd have put $4 on his nose...:) Nothing wrong with "chasing" once in awhile.