Saturday, January 30, 2016

Horse race....or not

I come from a long of racing horse racing folk.  My great, great grandfather had Callaghan’s in Dame Street in Dublin, a kind of Brooks Brothers for horsey folk.  Saddles, bridles, boots, blankets, coats….For fox hunters, steeplechasers, jockeys, etc. To this day, the scents loose in Callaghan’s compete with the same in the cellars of Romanee-Conti in my memory world for best ever.

My grandfather Jack was born into a family of 16 kids, with four sets of twins.  He was way down on the list when it came to the money….Ireland is still a primogenitor society.  The oldest son gets everything….and Grandpa Jack was far from primo.

Typically in Irish families the downstream kids go into the Church, become lawyers and accountants…or work their way into the business…..hoping for deaths from their older siblings.

My Gramps Jack…….I can’t think of him as Gramps because he died when he was thirty….Jack was shipped off to Boston to work and Sussex Downs to learn the business from the bottom up.

Jack was cool with the bottom.  He spent his wages on horses, whiskey and women….. and definitely did not learn much about the retail end of the horse business..

Jack pissed away his inheritance, wound up as a journalist in the US Army in WWI in Paris (close to Longchamps), and met my grandma on the race train to the real Derby….in England.

My mom inherited the love of horses at the track.  She grew up in Redondo and she flat out loved Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. She loved the pageant, the colors, all that bullshit….but she knew her horses.  Who ran well in the wet, who ran well on a dry track.  Who was better with a heavy jockey with no weights than a light guy with plates in his gear.  My mom loved Latin jockeys.  Till the end she would bet the farm at the Fairgrounds on any California horse with a Latin jockey….well, a good Latin jockey and a good California horse anyway. 

Eddie Arcaro…..Be still, my heart.

And a good trainer, of course.

It is genetic.  I am a terrible gambler, like Jack.  Both my mom and I share weird genetic things: we both sneeze when walking into sunshine from shade (WTF?)….and we both reflexively tear up watching any horse race….even on TV.

When you go to the track with folks who hang out with the trainers, jockeys, muck-rakers, etc you are hanging with serious people who make their money from the horses and the races.

Parimutuel betting runs differently.  This system runs by taking the aggregate of all the bets on a given race, dividing up the cash, subtracting the costs….and allocating odds to each horse based on the number of folks betting on him or her. If everyone bets on Goldilocks, the odds are very short.

Idiots who come to the track and bet on horses because of the colors of their stable, or the sheen of their coats, or based on their name (Goldilocks to win, place or show in the fifth race!)….fund the profits for the pros who are there every day.

“Honey, put $100 on Shambles….his colors remind me of the ocean in Tahiti last year.  And his jockey is so cute.and a Virgo. And the trainer was on Ellen.  

Regardless that Shambles is limping up to the post.

This is what is going on with the Republicans right now.  Not just the candidates….but the voters that are apparently choosing them. No one is betting on policies or character or hard work or information.  God forbid any possible future ability to govern…..

Cute colors……sexy jockey!  Hello, Mr. President!

Great work with the whip down the stretch, Mr. President!

2.01 to win
2.35 to show
2.60 to place.

No money in those odds….

None of these idiots are going to be in my Trifecta….and definitely not in my Pick Six.