Steve dragged me out of the factory where we worked before I could even finish clocking out properly. We climbed into his car and took off for Vista Del Mar before our co-workers even realized we were gone.
We hit the track like a couple of madmen, balancing burgers, paper cups of beer, racing forms all the while talking about how cool it was that those girls had flashed us from their truck out on the street. We found spots overlooking the track and went off one at a time to the betting box to make our wagers.
Of course, we knew absolutely nothing about horse racing and bet only on the horses whose names we liked. Our favorite for the day: Barking Shark.
Our horse came in for us on a win, place, or show bet, gaining us just enough cash to pay for the afternoon. We walked out of the park four hours later, bellies full, cash in hand, excited, and still talking about the girls who had flashed us.
It was one of the best days of my life.
Since then, I have made a thousand or more bets at all kinds of games, but always for low stakes. I am a very cautious gambler. I hedge my bets and play as intelligently as possible. But one day, someday, maybe, I am going to stop doing that.
I have seen or read or heard or imagined a thousand or more scenarios wherein our hero walks up to the box and bets it all on the long shot, or lets it ride, or pulls the the long odds and I so desperately want to do that.
I don’t know why. I don’t really care.
Perhaps it was born in all those Bukowski books, perhaps in that one afternoon in San Diego, perhaps it is just an innate part of my neurotic personality. It doesn’t matter.
One day, I am going to find myself at a park, and I am going to examine all the races and horses closely, then I will pick three to come in, in the correct order, and I will make a bet for an insane amount of money, and I will win the trifecta. 6 years ago