Thursday, November 6, 2014
My saddest racing story happened 40 years ago. Back in the day when there were actually three horse-racing tracks in Louisville. Churchill Downs, of course and then
off Poplar Level Road, there was harness racing at Louisville Downs. This story took place at the third track....Commonwealth Race Course (previously Miles Park) in the west end of Louisville.
It was the place for me and my crew to go on Friday summer nights in 1974. Night racing! Beer vendors that didn't check ID's. A wide assortment of all different types of people and the chance to turn our weekly summertime job paychecks to more money. We actually started going in 1972...but the summer nights of 1974 were special. Me, Big Ed, Baby Bobby Brody, Little Stan and Crazy George would pile into my 1969 Chevelle Malibu or Ed's 1968 Chevy Van and hit the track on Friday nights. Saturday nights were Date Night. Friday nights were "Guys Night Out".
We followed the horses out there...because back then, it wasn't uncommon for the low level claimers out there to run once a week. On the night in question, I noticed that TOOLITTLETOOLATE was running on the card. This old claimer had been a disappointment of late...getting punished in six or seven furlong affairs after getting to an early lead.
The owner and trainer had entered him in a 4 1/2 furlong that evening. Shorter distance. The betting crowd, however, didn't think he would be a contender. I was convinced he would be. I ponied up $25 of my hard earned cash and stuck it on his nose to win at 25-1 odds. The crew also backed him in varying dollar amounts.
They broke from the gate. As usual, TOOLITTLETOOLATE sprinted to the lead. As they took the turn and headed down the short Commonwealth stretch...he was increasing that lead...with a furlong to go, he was up by five lengths. We were ecstatic beyond belief.
Then, it happened...
With a sickening thud, he fell to the dirt. The jockey dismounted and rolled to the rail to avoid getting run over by the rest of the field. They passed TOOLITTLETOOLATE left and right, no collisions fortunately...while he laid motionless on his side.
The van came out after the race and the track guys literally drug him inside and took off.
We were stunned. Wordless. Our sure thing...100 yards away from the finish line. Then, nothing.
I found out later from a trainer that TOOLITTLETOOLATE apparently had a massive heart attack and died almost instantly.
I'd like to think that the veteran old runner's last thoughts were something like..."Hey, it doesn't get any better than this...I'm the champ today"...and he died with those positive thoughts in his brain as he drew his last breath.
On that evening TOOLITTLETOOLATE was "more than enough" but just couldn't make the final 100 yards. I kept that losing ticket for quite some time...as a reminder that things can suddenly, rapidly change in life. During my several location moves and packings over the years, it got misplaced. Lost. The memory still remains, though.
Somewhere, I hope there is a horse heaven...and TOOLITTLETOOLATE is getting those final 100 yards and winning by 5 lengths...
Saturday, November 1, 2014
NINE RACES ON BREEDERS CUP SATURDAY
(You can see Friday's picks and results on Friday's entry)
BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE FILLIES - RACE 4
By The Moon on top here and will also consider Angela Renee, Conquest and Top Decile underneath.
Recap: We got shut out here. The bomb Take Charge Brandy wasn't in our wheelhouse. Top Decile ran 2nd.
FILLY AND MARE TURF - RACE 5
Stephanie's Kitten is my selection for the sprint. I'll also use Secret Gesture, Dank and Dayatthespa in vertical and horizontal wagers.
Recap: A nice exacta with DayattheSpa and Stephanie's Kitten and a profit on across the board on Stephanie's Kitten. One in on the Pick 3, too
FILLY AND MARE SPRINT - RACE 6
Artemis Agrotera should finish on top in this highly competitive race. I'll also use Judy The Beauty, Sweet Reason and Thank You Marylou in the gimmicks.
Recap: Judy the Beauty wins and keeps us alive in the Pick 3. Thank You Marylou a nice longshot price for third.
TURF SPRINT - RACE 7
No Nay Never gets a slight edge here. Home Run Kitten, Bobby's Kitten and Undrafted will be right there also and if Za Approval draws in as an also-eligible...I'll include him.
Recap: We catch the Pick 3 with Bobby's Kitten and exacta plus huge trifecta with No Nay Never running second for a nice across the board profit and Undrafted getting third.
JUVENILE - RACE 8
Carpe Diem was impressive at Keeneland and draws my attention. Daredevil, Mr Z and Upstart are usable and will fill out the wagering exotics.
Recap: Texas Red knocks us out of the Pick 3 we had going. Our pick Carpe Diem gets us a little across the board money back and Upstart ran third.
TURF - RACE 9
We're going for a price here and looking for Chicquita to outlast Telescope, Main Sequence and Flintshire in another hard-to-decide race.
Main Sequence gets the final Pick 4 off to a successful start and we catch another exacta with Flintshire running second.
SPRINT - RACE 10
Awfully tough to decide between Indianapolis and Secret
Circle in this dash. I'll play both on top and also figure Rich Tapestry, Fast Anna and Work All Week to factor in.
Recap: Work All Week gets us a huge win and Secret Circle running 2nd gives us a very nice exacta. Still alive in the Pick 3 and 4 !!
MILE - RACE 11
Solidly behind Toronado here. To fill the exacta and other multi-horse wagers...I'm looking at Mustajeeb, Tom's Thumb and Seek Again.
Recap: Longshot Karakonite wipes us out of everything! Drat! We got dusted in this race. No top 3 finishers.
CLASSIC - RACE 12
Bayern is my winner for the Classic and my best bet of the day. Martin Garcia and Bob Baffert should prevail over Shared Belief, Tonalist, Cigar Street and the very dangerous California Chrome.
Recap: Bayern survives the Stewards Inquiry and gives us a very nice end to Breeders Cup Saturday. My partner in wagering Tommy Boy also suggested a $2 exacta wheel with Bayern on top and "all" underneath..which also scored well for us.
We wagered a whopping $726 on the day's card. Here's what we got back:
Race 5 - $8 on Stephanie's Kitten and $27 on the exacta
Race 7 - $9 on No Nay Never, $351 on the Pick Three, $54 on the exacta and $647 on the trifecta.
Race 8 - $3 on Carpe Diem
Race 9 - $32 on the exacta
Race 10 - $122 on the exacta
Race 12 - $278 on across the board on Bayern. ($20 across)
and the $2 Exacta $250
Money won...$1581 - money wagered $726 = $855 profit. With the $109 profit from Friday..a two day score = $964.
We hope you were along for the ride...