Nothing’s quite like a mid-March trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Oaklawn Park – other than a trip in April when the dogwoods are in full bloom. On the same day as our wedding anniversary, a date that has awarded us in previous racing trips, Barbara and I, along with a number of gambling-starved friends, headed west for the horse racing, hot baths, and massages. (I usually pass on the later two and find my way to a local bar to soak up some gin and tonic. Something about waiting in line with naked men just makes me cough…….)
As usual, I had prepared and looked the part. My sleek cognac jacket concealed the results of my pre-race analysis. No bulky racing news papers under this dude’s arm. No cheap tip sheets in my back pocket. No one could possibly mistake me for anything other than a middle-aged, sharp dressed, wannabe, professional gambler in search of a gin and tonic.
My pre-race analysis had suggested that I wager my full day’s allowance on the number three horse in the sixth race should the odds be at 4 to 1 or higher. One of my favorite jockeys, Calvin Borel, would be riding and guiding the horse through the pack to the finish line. There was lots of buzz around Hot Springs about Borel riding Rachel Alexandra in an upcoming race at Oaklawn against rival Zenyatta. I felt confident. This would be the best bet of the day. Dinner on me tonight!
I thoroughly enjoyed the first three races, spending much of that time catching up with friends, sharing a corned beef sandwich, and soaking up a gin and tonic or two. Before the beginning of the fourth race, I decided to mosey over to paddock to get a close look at the horses, and to see if I could tune-in to any energies the horses, trainers, or jockeys might be sending. A very fortunate visit was to await me.
To be continued…….