Saturday, August 21, 2010

At the Track

Del Mar is a fairly spiffy horse racing venue. It is a good place to be when you want to turn the phone off and leave it in the glove box, which I did.

Betting is stupid if you don't have money to burn. That did not stop me, even though I don't know how a lot of the tri, bi or homo fectas work. I placed simpler wagers, and most likely cheaper. Won one and should have stopped; $16 ahead. In the end I probably lost about that much, but who keeps track? I approximate in these situations. No need to be too specific with debits and credits when you know the odds are against you.

Any time the venue you are in can afford better landscaping and upkeep than you can at home, there is a reason for it. The reason is that the house is set up scientifically to win most of the time. Why else would they bother to be there? Why would anyone be a bookie if the odds were unfavorable? In this case, Del Mar is the bookie.

I enjoy the races as much without betting but I can see how you could get the bug; you like horse #9, M'Lady's Toosh, you don't bet, M'Lady's Toosh leaves the field agasp, winning solidly. If only I'd wagered the farm on that filly. Don't be fooled. M'Lady's Toosh will lead you to ruin.

Jockeys must work hard on race day. Every race a different horse that they may have never seen. One horse bucked a jockey off in warm up. He got back on and came in 3rd or 4th so I guess they came to some sort of understanding. At Del Mar, judging from the names, Mexico produces the lion's share of riders. What I think is that somewhere in Mexico they are binding children at birth to ensure the child can find work at the track. They are to people what bonsai plants are to the world of horticulture. I hope it doesn't hurt.

Later they have a band play. In this case a latin fusion band I wanted to see. Great stage, insanely cramped area for viewing. It is a standing room only, no where to sit area, cordoned off so that there is an eye of the needle situation for entry and exit. A small sea of people packed bumper to bumper so that no one could fall down even if a sudden death befell someone in the audience. No thanks.

I could tell the group was worth seeing, but even the Beatles or the prophet of your choice (pbuh) wouldn't be worth joining that can of sardines.

The track would be a cool place to work if you dealt with the horses or maybe played the bugle. Not sure the betting cashier would be so great, although many of them seemed to like it. I know horse work doesn't pay that well, but it is kind of an all consuming life and a world of its own. I find that appealing. Plus there is a quality about horse people I like.

In Miami I used to take the metro-rail to Hialeah, sometimes. It was easy and no traffic to fool with. It was cheap to get in and Hialeah is a pretty track with a pond and a gazillon flamingos. Just like the ones you put in your front lawn, except these can fly. I never bet when I went, just enjoyed the escape.

They've had issues keeping Hialeah open over the years, but it is again up and running. It was once the premier venue for the horsies. I think the fancy Calder race track made it tough. It has 1/10th the charm but such is life. Tropical Park bit the dust due to updated stuff in the scuzzy northern Dade county-into Broward county area. I spit to think of that. But you probably thought South Beach was always splendid. It used to be nothing but garbage. A beach so skinny and dirty children cried if you offered to take them to the beach.

If you want to go to Del Mar you have to deal with THE Five (I-5) and the snarky traffic. Why is that every mile closer to LA the more drivers attempt to prevent you from getting where you are going? One guy was dead set on preventing a lane change--he failed--then he tried to speed up from keep another driver from moving over to the right to make an exit, and finally he had to move left because he wasn't even getting off. He almost had to exit because he was more intent on making trouble than getting to LA or wherever he was headed.

They always preface the numbered highways with "the" out here. That is not how it is done in eastern states where I lived. I don't mind. I just find it a noticeable characteristic of the vernacular out west. Everyone does it; my friends, the TV people, homeless people who "will work for food", everyone except me.

OK so they installed the new carpet in the suite I painted. Not the carpet that was ordered but "it will do", according to the house manager. Since it was different the door now doesn't work. Looks like someone will have to shave some off the bottom. I am not crazy about that task but work is work.


  1. Once upon a time, they opened up a racetrack quite near me on LI and my band got to play down on the 'infield' several days in a row.

    One member had a 'system', and sure enough he systematically lost more than he earned that day. Whereas, the woman I had as a guest would like the color of a jockey's uniform or the cute name of a horse, and won about a hundred and fifty bucks, to the huge annoyance of Mr System.

  2. One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes was the polaroid camera that would take a picture of something that was going to happen in the immediate future.

    They took it to a racetrack and took photos of the board and made a killing.

  3. Ahhhh, Del Mar! "Where the Turf Meets the Surf." Bing Crosby was a major backer and attendee...he also had a neat house a couple miles away.

    When I was little and went to see the ponies run, jockeys were little wizened-up white guys mostly, and the track announcers had annoying, grating NooYawk-style voices.

    Now, as you say, the jockeys are mostly from South of the Border. I don't care about that, but I purely hate the announcers, who all have Brit accents.


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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