She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Derby to you!
Our selections for today are at


Yesterday was an interesting day at the say the least. We walked over from the 80 Under 80 and made it  inside the Infield around 11:15 a.m. Got to see Poobah's wife Babs, and gave her a big hug. She was parking cars. Poobah was inside 80 Under 80, doing who knows what...didn't get a chance to see him.

We thought about taking the bus shuttle back and forth. It's $15 round trip this year. Between me, Sonja and Tommy Boy...that equals five beers over in the Infield. We decided to walk.

My knee held up pretty good. The usual hucksters and preachers were lined up on Central Avenue like always. I got an American flag pin. The guy wanted a donation. I saluted him and told him that I was disabled also and I kept going.

A preacher handing out pamphlets asked me if I knew where I was going in the after-life. I told him I was pretty sure either Naples or Mulligan's. He didn't get it. He asked me if I prayed. I told him I was praying for Beholder in the Oaks. I kept moving.

The usual shakedown at the gate. Searching bags, wand-waving and raise your arms and turn around. I complied fully. I wasn't "carrying" this year. No way I would have got anything in. The boys were being diligent.

Through the rowdy tunnel that leads to the Infield. The crowd got the C A R D S chant up twice. No CATS, CATS, CATS was ever heard. We emerged unscathed and headed to a nice, grassy spot in front of the giant screen in the back of the Infield. Tommy Boy stopped and got us a couple of beers. $8 for Budweiser, $9 for Heineken.

We're weren't getting toasted today.


The folks around us were very nice. Mostly from Louisville and southwest Virginia. They saw Sonja had sunblock and we shared the bottle with them. They handed her $7 for the usage. First winner of the day! She tried to give the money back to them...they told her to go buy a couple of bottles of water with it. $4 a bottle out there. I gave her a $1 and she returned later with two bottles.

Tommy and I got bets up in time for the #4 race. Sonja was holding out until the sixth. He and I started a Pick 3. We hit the first leg with the #3 horse and Rafael Bejarano on board. It made all of us happy, the folks behind us had started a "show pool" in the first race and they were still alive also with the #3.

Our Pick 3 died in the 5th.race. We both loved the #8 Bail Me Out. He ran second. We had three other horses, too. None of them was the #8. The folks behind us had the #1 and they were excited. He came third. Tommy Boy and I were off to wager again. A Pick 3 again, plus all the bets I had to place for races 6-11. I bet them early, before the lines get long.

I got, perhaps, the slowest and stupidest teller in all of Churchill Downs. I swear, I stood there 10 minutes. People were standing behind me and moving to other lines...because this poor lady just didn't grasp it. Finally, she finished punching the tickets out. I checked them after I paid, still standing there. Three of them were wrong. She got a supervisor over and he corrected them. Tom, who had finished his wagering in about three minutes, left and brought me back a beer. I needed it. Jeez O' Pete! They need more automatic wagering machines in the Infield.


The #6 race ran. We all hit. Pick 3 still alive, Sonja and I had the exacta and trifecta and her win, place and show bets did well. The gang behind us hit the show pool again on the #4 horse. It was a beautiful thing.

Race #7 got the #3 Kitten's Dumplings home on top. This pleased all of us, since Sonja had it to win...and the exacta. It was in our Pick 3 and the show pool folks had it also. They were well over $200 up on the show pool and were "letting it ride".

We ran into "C.P." on a walk to the restroom. He said he had 4 cases of free beer at his spot and he'd treat us to a few. We walked to where he told us he was after the restroom break. Everyone there knew him, but the story about the four cases of free beer were bogus. They got a chuckle out of that story. We were not amused.

Race #8 killed our Pick 3. We had some good horses, but no #9...who won at 8-1. Sonja had the second place finisher. The show pool players were absolutely giddy. The #2 paid $5.00 to show and they had $250 on it. They were now up to $625. Tom and I also started a Pick 4 in the race. It died after the first leg.

Sonja left to walk and get some food before the ninth race. We had conversations with people, started a Pick 3 and talked to a guy who thought Tom was a guy who used to run a poker game each week in a house behind the old Winn-Dixie on Preston. Nope, wrong guy...


Off they went in the ninth race. The show pool players rolled all $625 over on the #9 horse. They were going for the big kill. Unfortunately, the #9 killed the #8 shortly after they broke from the gate. The #9 did finish second...but the Objection/Inquiry lights came up after the race. Tom and I were OK...we had the winner.. we were still alive. Sonja hit two of her across the board bets and another exacta.

They took the #9 down from second and out of the money after further review. The show pool gang had been defeated. They were deflated. Why they didn't decide to grant themselves a payout after they got to $625 is beyond me.

Sonja returned with a huge Turkey Leg and a cheeseburger for me. $20. Wow...

Race 10 treated us well. Sonja with the exacta, me with the exacta and trifecta and we won the third leg of the Pick 4. We had gone up to bet a final Pick 3 as well and were alive in that. By the time we got back to the chairs...we saw Sonja talking to...


The Drunk Guy was in my chair and rambling non-stop to Sonja. She had a bemused smile on her face. He tried to get up when he saw Tom and I come back, but it wasn't going well for him. I told him to stay seated. He rambled for the next fifteen minutes about everything from coal mines to karate and each pretty girl that walked by. I could tell Tom was getting annoyed with him. Tom finally said he was going for a walk. I stayed. Finally, two other drunk guys showed up and took Drunk Guy with them. The three of them wandered off into the Infield. Wobbling. Laughing.
I wonder how they're feeling this morning...


After what seemed to be forever, they loaded them up for the Oaks and off they went. Beholder stayed close to the pace, made a move on the final turn and took the lead. I was jumping up and down. She was 9-1 and it looked like no one was going to catch her. I'm hugging Sonja, Tom is screaming "Three, three, three!!" (Beholder's number).

Then, it happened. Someone was roaring down the center of the track. I couldn't make out what the track announcer was saying. I looked at the hat on the jockey. Purple. I looked quickly at my program. Purple hat. Mike Smith on Princess of Sylmar. 37-1. They got to the wire. Smith got a head in front. He won by a neck. I stared dazed at the screen. Second best. We didn't have a #6 (Princeess) in our Pick 4 or Pick 3. I sat down. Prayed for an inquiry. Didn't happen. Still, I had "unbuckled" across the board on Beholder. He paid $9.00 to place and $5.60 to show. I was happy but a bit close to the win.

Tom and I cursed our luck. We decided to unload on the final race. We loved Paul McGee's #11 Sky Girl. We bet her. We put her in an exacta and trifecta, too. Sonja was done betting. She was way ahead and sat there contentedly.

Sky Girl won for fun at 5-2 odds. We hit the exacta and trifecta as well. A good way to end the day. We packed up our chairs, went to the windows and cashed out.

The walk back to 80 Under 80 was uneventful except for the fact it had started raining as we got to the top of Denny Crum Overpass. The walk had my knee killing me. We got to the car, though...all three of us tired but glad we attended.

Happy Derby folks!

-- Paulie


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