Why We Love This Game — Misclicking into $1100
Written by Kevin Schnoor
October 20, 2015
It really hasn’t been my month from a horseplayer standpoint. It’s been bad beat after bad beat; having a 17/1 to kick off a pick 4 but not having the logical 5/2 shot 2 legs later, getting beat at the wire in the payout leg, narrowing down a race to two main contenders and singling the wrong one – you know the drill. But this past Sunday it was all different. Something happened to me that has never happened to me before. We’ll get to that in a second.
Horse racing is my passion (I blame/love my dad for it). It has been a part of my life ever since I was little. From the winner’s circle, to the paddock, to the backstretch, to being a railbird. I loved it all. Four years ago, I took a job at Monmouth Park and worked there during the summer while completing my undergraduate degree at University of Maryland. I graduated last May and took the last year or so to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to get into racing. So, this past semester I enrolled at the University of Arizona to study Racetrack Management. The semester has been fantastic already. I have met many amazing people and it is more than I could have ever dreamt it to be. It is awesome being around people who share a similar passion and love the game as much as I do.
Last week was busy from a school standpoint; we had plenty of exams to take and assignments due, so we wanted to plan something to look forward to on the weekend. I saw that it was opening weekend at Turf Paradise and knew it was only a couple hours away so me and Alexa (@AlexaRavit, follow her, she’s pretty cool) decided to make the day trip. I had never been there before and was excited to see a new racetrack.
On Sunday morning, we got into my blue Honda Accord (Alexa calls him/it “JJ” after my dad’s old horse, JJ’s Lucky Train) and left Tucson to head to Phoenix for the day. I had handicapped the races from Turf Paradise, Belmont, and Keeneland, the night before and was extremely interested in a pick 3 sequence at Keeneland. It seemed to be pretty chalky but if I hammered the sequence I knew I still could make a nice profit. It started in race 5 and I knew it would be dicey for us to even get there in time for me to play it. We parked, paid and walked in. I immediately ran to the TV monitors to see if I made it in time to place the bet. I did, but I didn’t have much time. The race was going off in less than a minute. I threw $40 in the machine and played two bets a $20 3-1 double and a $20 3-1-6 pk 3 (well, at least I thought I did).
My selection in the 5th, Cowboy Rhythm, looked absolutely loaded the whole race and just needed to find room. When they turned for home, Paco angled out and went on to an easy three length score. First leg down. We went out to watch the first race at Turf Paradise (it was a Quarter Horse race and I had never seen one of those live so that was pretty cool). The closing leg of the double and the second leg of the pick three was going off at about the same time. No worries, I just took out my iPhone and streamed it while waiting for the Turf Paradise race. The crowd probably thought I was nuts because I was screaming “come on 1” over and over and the race at Turf Paradise had yet to go off. The 1, Twirl Girl, grinded out the win and just got up by a head. It wasn’t the biggest score ever or anything, but I did just pocket $284 and I was rolling into Cassatt who I loved in Keeneland’s 7th. Larry Jones does well with layoffs like the one she was coming off of and she was the class of the field.
I walked up to the window and reached into my wallet and took out the winning double ticket, and I saw my pick 3. It read 3-1-3. Not 3-1-6. I still have no idea how I punched 3 instead of 6. The 6 and 3 are nowhere near each other on the screen. My delight of hitting the double turned into anger and frustration. “Of course, this was happening again,” I thought to myself.
We had like 20 minutes until Keeneland’s race and I was trying to think of ways to cover up my bonehead move. I went back to the form and tried to see if my 3 (You Bought Her) had a shot. Her last was against some pretty tough ones in Stonetastic and Unbridled Forever and two back she ran pretty well at Prairie Meadows. She was also 1/1 at Keeneland. I just thought Cassatt was primed for a big effort, so I dismissed her pretty quickly when originally handicapping the race. The only thing I could come up with to “hedge” was a cold exacta 6-3. This does nothing for me if Cassatt wins and You Bought Her runs last, but I wanted to at least cash if the 3 ran well. Looking back now, I think a better play would have been to just start new doubles/picks 3s with Cassatt, but it turns out it didn’t really matter what I did.
The horses got into the gate and You Bought Her broke in second and Cassatt actually broke towards the rear of the field, so I was thinking “hey, maybe it’s my day.” They made their way into the final turn and You Bought Her got shuffled back to like fifth on the inside, and Cassatt was making a menacing run on the outside (I was thinking, you’ve got to be bleeping kidding me, my misclick is costing me $750). Cassatt started flattening out and You Bought Her was coming on again up the rail. I grabbed my form and repeatedly hit my palm over and over (because we know this actually makes the horse you are cheering for run faster). I was doing whatever I could to urge her to the wire. She re-rallied to score quite comfortably at the end. I couldn’t believe it. SHE WON. I WON. I just started bursting out laughing. I just won $1136 by complete luck (so remind me of this next time I whine about something on Twitter). It didn’t seem real to me. I walked up to the teller still laughing and she asked me why. I explained to her what happened and she responded saying, “I guess it’s your lucky day.” She was right. It was.
I was pretty much even for the rest of my betting day, but I thoroughly enjoyed my first time at Turf Paradise. The venue was much nicer than I thought it would be and you can see the locals get really excited about their racing. It was rather crowded for it being the day after opening day and having to compete with the NFL. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout. The weather was relatively okay, aside from a late afternoon monsoon, but that didn’t matter. You Bought Me paid for my rent for the next two months and that’s all I cared about.
It is nice to know with all the bad beats we take while playing this game, we are allowed to get lucky every now and then. I have a day and a score that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
This is Why I Love This Game.
We thank Kevin for sharing his story on DanonymousRacing.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @downthestretch7.