Written by: @TheMightyForego
Date: Sunday, May 26th, 2013
Location: Badbeatville, USA
For reasons that you will soon learn, as the victim of too many bad beats to remember, I had recently thought of contributing an article along those lines. We will return to that thought but need a little background first. I have been ‘capping a long time – essentially since I could fit the Form into my back pocket just like the old man, which, believe it or not, was before I was 8 yrs old. When I was around 15, Pops used to make me place his wagers – the mutuel clerks at the Big A, aka, The Barnyard, got a big kick out of it.
When I was even younger, Pops still joyfully tells the story about how my brother and I were once running around shouting and spooked one of the horses at Saratoga (when the saddling area took up the entire back). Ogden Phipps was livid and came storming over in suit, tie and matching hat, but my father quickly apologized to him and we were on our way again. Who knew that man’s family would someday win the Kentucky Derby?
I am not a great ‘capper but I understand my limitations and I am fine with that realization. Among other things, I have two jobs, volunteer work and just do not have much free time. Truth be told, even if I had more time, I still would not be a great handicapper. So, I am more of a half-weekend warrior – often can only play late Saturday afternoons if I am lucky. In fact, only recently did I open an online account so I can make a few more plays.
Anyway, last year, around this time, I thought to myself that Twitter might be a neat way to find and share horse racing information and opinions from those smarter than me. Shortly thereafter, I found a lot of serious horse racing people to follow including, but not limited to, @GrahamMotion, @DRFWelsch, @pick4win, @Striblove, @SaratogaPhil, @alanLATG, @jonathanstettin, @InsideTheNumbrs, @JayFrederick2, and @DanonymousMan just to name but a few.
So, as this past Friday’s workload grind came to an end, I started to print out the key races for the Saturday card and watch the previews from @DRF_DanIIman and @BeerAtDRF. Since I try to limit most of my wagers to turf racing, the weather forecast is always critical to me. Off the turf usually means no wagering for me for several reasons, none of them germane to this story. In any event, before studying this Saturday’s cards, I checked the weather forecast across the country. As many of you know, the forecast looked particularly bleak for the Metropolitan Area, i.e., Belmont and Monmouth would likely be off the turf. However, no rain was predicted for Churchill Downs, Woodbine and Arlington. With that in mind, I turned my attention to the three grass stakes at those venues with the idea that I would take care of a few chores and get to the local track around 4:00 and perhaps stay for a couple of hours or not.
It was now early Friday afternoon. I perused my Twitter feed. It started with a retweet (“RT”). Not just a simple RT. No, this is where the true beauty of Twitter comes in. You see, I was not following @Zipseatthetrack, but luckily I was following Patrick, aka, @ThoroughbredRD. Patrick “retweeted” this:
As minutes turned to more more minutes and as I lingered on Twitter, I noticed that @DanonymousMan ’s announcement that his site would feature Paul Mazur, aka @heylaserbeam, with picks from Arlington for their Saturday card.
After Dan posted the link early Saturday morning, I promptly clicked away and was pleasantly surprised to find a well written analysis of the full card. Very impressive. Kind of disappointed that I did not have more time to look at other races. Instead, time dictated that I limit my focus to the Arlington Classic. As part of his analysis, Paul Mazur noted Gefest was his “longshot play”. He wrote the following:
Needless to say, my interest in Gefest was piqued. Got up Saturday morning and went through the PPs for each of the grass stakes again. When I looked at the Arlington Classic, on paper, it was pretty easy for me to make a case for nearly the entire field. With such a seemingly wide open race, I looked closer at Gefest. As Brian Zipse, aka, @Zipseatthetrack noted, he had never run on the turf before. But I am old enough to remember some of the sires/dams and noted Theatrical in his blood. In my mind, at first blush, at 30-1, ML, he certainly qualified in my book for a “flyer”. On second and third passes through the entries, however, my focus narrowed to four horses: Gefest, Dorsett, General Election and Admiral Kitten. Gefest was coming off of arguably his best race to date, a $60,000 ALW win @Keelandracling in which he beat the aforementioned Dorsett as well as one of those ubiquitous kittens. In other words, Gefest’s last was a pretty solid win at a top track. He also showed a recent bullet work at AP. He seemed to be on top of his game and was clearly an “A” bet to me.
DORSETT. I am old school. Pops taught me about key races meaning that if you liked a horse and he ran against another horse entered in the same race, there was some logic that you could expect both to run well again. Unlike Gefest and The General, he had run on turf before with some success. In addition to losing his last race to Gefest, he broke his maiden on the turf two starts back.
GENERAL ELECTION. Do not recall who it was, but I know that sometime in March, one or more twitterers were on General Election as he pointed to the Derby Preps and I have followed General Election since then. Even used him in my Tris in the Lexington where, at 34-1, he got up for second. Alas, despite his great run, I did not catch the tris that day because I used him with an also ran that day. Like most of you reading this caught in similar situations, I cursed myself for not placing a WPS on him that day and being greedy by just betting the Tris. Anyway, this would also be The General’s first attempt on the lawn, but has nice pedigree for the weeds. I also noted that Jumping Joe Rocco was keeping the mount and that he too had a nice recent workout.
ADMIRAL KITTEN. Not much handicapping skill here – at all. Recall that I had also bet the Louisville Stakes at Churchill Downs a mere few minutes earlier. I have bet Atigun several times over the last year or so, many times to my chagrin, but really loved him today. I generally bet Tris and some WPS on my key horses. I keyed Atigun with Prime Cut in the Tris and bet $200 on him to Place. I expected him to be more forwardly placed (because he races best at or near the lead – something his jockey apparently did not appreciate) and he was life and death to get the place. While I still lost money on the race (Prime Cut would rally, but finish fourth, the proverbial story of me life), the place bet provided some relief. It was not “lost” on me that Atigun got beat by Mike Maker. I even boldly tweeted before the race that I was chucking Mike’s horse. Ha! Mike Maker was probably shaking in his boots before they loaded into the gate at my tweet and was laughing his ass off at the finish! It is noteworthy that Mike Maker has cost me quite a bit this year. So, as I pondered my wagers for the Arlington Classic, I thought to myself that it would really suck if either Gefest and/or General Election hit the board and I failed to catch the tris because one of MM’s kittens beat me – yet again! [Me: not today, Mikey! I am onto you!]
So, with that, I begrudgingly had to cut Dorsett from my top three selections. I limited myself to the Tris and a sample of my wagers looked like this:
First set boxed: Gefest w/General Election w/All
Second set boxed: Gefest w/Admiral Kitten w/All
Third set boxed (in case Gefest did not show): General Election w/Admiral Kitten w/All
It was now close to 5:30 PM (EST) and since there was more than an hour between the Louisville Stakes and the Arlington Classic. I placed my wagers (Gefest was 30-1 on ML) and left the track to get home in time to get ready to go out to eat for our Saturday night dinner.
I had to run an errand on the way home and momentarily, but truly, forgot about the upcoming race. Fortunately, my memory lapse did not last too long and I pulled the car over to check how much time was left before post. I logged in and found that they were just being loaded into the starting gate. At the corner of the screen, I noticed that Gefest was now closer to 40-1 (not too surprising) and The General was close to 15-1 – he was only 5-1 ML (very surprising to see him float, would not have been surprised to see his odds less), Dorsett was ~12-1 and Kitten was 2-1 (no surprise, he was 3-1 ML and the secret on MM is out). I actually pay very little attention to the odds when capping, but do take notice when they are loading in the gate.
And away they go…good, clean break. Have been eliminated from many races right at the start. Absolutely loved the early position that the talented Ms. Homemeister put Gefest in on the rail as he settled in behind the speed. Soon they were heading for the far turn and Gefest started to move. Did I mention he went off at 40-1? As they made their way to the stretch, he really looked full of run… [Me: Gefest is going to pull this off!]. Of course, I did not bet him to WPS. Very next thought: would still love to see him win at 40-1 to validate my capping. Before I had time to think more about me, as they came off the turn, I noticed a horse flying down the inside part of the stretch and the announcer proclaimed it was General Election. Holy Mackerel! [Me: Gefest and General Election – is this really going to happen?]
Suddenly, my thoughts turned to catching the mother load of trifectas…but the finish line was nowhere to be seen. [Me: Where the hell is the finish line?] “STOP THE RACE!” I bellowed to no one in my car.
In what seemed like s l o w m o t i o n, they got closer and closer to the wire. And, now, another horse was suddenly hooking Gefest. In fact, it looked like the other horse was leaning in on Gefest. [Me: Who the hell is that? What? No!!!!] Of course, it was Dorsett. It could possibly be anyone else. I went from being on top of the freaking moon all the way back down to earth (and it should be noted that it was still dreary and raining out!) because not only was another horse about to pass Gefest after bumping him hard, it was Dorsett who I eliminated from my keys! Ugh! But it was about to get worse.
A split second later, I noticed yet another horse flying on the far outside. [Me: M#$@%#@er!] Gefest was about to finish fourth! Then I heard the announcer say it was none other than “Admiral Kitten” charging on the outside. Woah! Wait a second…that’s not a bad thing…out of nowhere my head began to literally spin like Linda Blair.
So, as they crossed the wire, and still dizzy from the head spinning, I kinda thought I still may have caught the Tris. [Me: How did they go across again? I need to check my tickets to be sure]. They showed the stretch replay again and confirmed that The General won, Kitten was second, Dorsett third and Gefest fourth. I started recalling the wagers I made and thought BOOM! I do have this! As I wildly counted my chickens, too soon as I am want to do, this story was far from over. Out of the blue, I heard a belated announcement from the track announcer as he proclaimed to the world (or the three of us still listening) that there was a steward’s inquiry! [Me: Are you for real!] In my personal experience, a steward’s inquiry is never a good thing. If it was just a jockey’s objection, I would still be worried, but steward’s objection was definitely not good. Since Gefest was fourth, The General would be placed behind him and so would my General/Kitten tris! [Me: Man, here we go again… I am going to be the victim of a really vicious beat because if The General comes down, I got nothing, zippo, nada].
True fact: so conditioned to losing that I was already preparing to move on and my next thought was that I would have a great bad beat story for @Dan. I even took a screen shot from my phone to use in the story I might pen.
But wait a minute, it suddenly clicked (yeah, yeah, I am not the fastest cat on the block, ok?) that if The General were to come down, then Gefest should move into the show spot and I would hit the Tris that way! [Me: Holy mackerel – I got this!] But the announcer was not done. More announcements? [Me: C’mon. Stop playing. Is this a practical joke?] Not only was there a steward’s inquiry, now Rosemary Homeister, rider of Gefest, was claiming foul against The General. [Me: if they take The General down, I can live with that]. However, there was even more announcements: Rosemary was also claiming foul against Dorsett! [Me: wait, what?!] Still more: Dorsett’s rider lodged an objection against The General. Then Gefest’s trainer lodged a foul claim against The General! [Me: Mama Mia!]
In any event, it sure seemed like The General would come down, but for a fleeting second, I began to wonder how awesome would it be if they actually left The General up and took Dorsett down. If they did that, not only would I have the The General-Kitten Tris, but I would also cash the Gefest/General/Kitten keyed Tris. [Me: of course, who I am kidding, I never get that lucky!]
Official announcement: The stewards left The General up. Dorsett came down. Kitten was second. Gefest moved to the show spot. [Me: trembling – gotta check me tickets when I get home. After confirming I punched the right numbers, hands still trembled, but I finally exhaled].
This is a tough and humbling game. So, forgive me for savoring this one and, as you can see, without the tweets from many of you, this play simply does not happen. Unfortunately, no time for to play the ponies today, but tomorrow is Memorial Day and, I understand, there are a few stakes races on various cards. Hopefully, some are on the turf. Better check the weather and, of course, my Twitter feed!
We thank The Mighty Forego for sharing his story! You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMightyForego!
If you’d like to share your awesome race stories or “Bad Beats” on Memories & Memorabilia, just send a brief description of your special moment (along with a photo, if possible) to info@DanonymousRacing.com.