Why We Love This Game — Written by Rob Harding

Closing Day at Gulfstream – Striking Gold in the Rainbow 6, by Rob Harding

April 5th, 2013 will forever be a great day in my life. To give a little backstory, I am a 21 year old rising senior at Fordham University (I was a junior at the time) and have been going to the races with my dad since as long as I can remember. I used to hate going, because truthfully I had no idea what was going on. For years I absorbed everything around me: how to read the form, the excitement of each race, and the different types of bets horse players are able to make. In short, I didn’t start betting until late last summer. I had limited funds (as many young adults do) but I would keep up with the game daily, alerting my dad of any horses we had bet who were running so that he could make his bets.

April 5th was a Friday. The Rainbow-6 had reached a 2 million dollar carryover, and fortunately for us players, it had to be paid out as it the closing day of Gulfstream’s spring summer meet. (I will also add that I couldn’t pick my nose at the Gulfstream meet before this happened). I had my one and only class of the day at 11:30, and was out by 12:45. I didn’t really have any thoughts about putting in a .10 cent rainbow 6 ticket, but my one suitemate was at work, another was in class, and the other was glued to FIFA, so I thought to myself, go down to the local 7-11 and see if they by any chance had the form. Well, when I asked the guy if he had the racing form, he looked at me like I had 10 heads, so I left without an answer and went onto plan B: print out the PPs at the library. I thought to myself, is all this walking across campus, back and forth, really worth it? The odds of me hitting this thing are slim to none, and I had several opportunities to bail, but I went on with it because of the fact that all the races were off the turf. I don’t know what it is, but I am able to handicap the dirt so much better than the turf. A sloppy, scratch ridden sequence seemed hittable, so I went with it.

I got back to my room, and put 30 dollars in the account. I didn’t want to go any more than that, but figured that the ticket would need a few more funds, so I bet 10 to win on a Todd Pletcher maiden in the last grass race of the day to try and pickup an additional 35 (he was 7-2 or so and had speed on a boggy turf, so I thought why not).  Well, that horse spit the bit around the turn and it was back to the drawing board. Without adding any additional funds, I finally started delving into the sequence. After 2 long hours of studying, I had finally settled on a ticket:

R8: 2-6-10

R9: 4-14

R10: 3-5-7-10-11

R11: 3-7-13

R12: 1-11-13

R13: 1-6-12


This ticket would’ve cost 108. When I saw this, I tried cutting down my tickets as best I could without crippling my chances. The first and second legs looked very, very chalky to me, so I left them as is. The 3rd leg is where I knew I had to eliminate some horses. I really, really wanted to get rid of the Peter Walder horse, but didn’t want to get beat by the usual suspects (Castellano, Walder et al), so I decided to eliminate Old Parr first. Old Parr hadn’t won in nearly two years, so I figured why was today the day. The next cut was difficult. It was between the 3 and the 7. The 7 had run well in the slop before, but was 12-1. The 3 was half of that, his last race was a clunker, but I knew if he ran back to his prior races he could win this. Well, I went with the 12-1 ML slop horse, wanting to try and get myself some value, and left out the 3. Then came the 4th race, which I had originally intended on leaving as originally constructed, until I saw something. I remembered the name “Trinni Heart.” I remember watching the maiden breaking score of a horse named Zaikov, who romped by probably at least twelve lengths in a maiden. I had bet Trinni Heart that day, as I am always trying to beat Pletcher, much to my demise. Trinni Heart ran testing fractions, than folded around the turn. I said to myself, this horse ran into a monster that day. If I leave him out and he goes wire to wire, I will be kicking myself for days, so I put him in and eliminated the 13 off the AE list.


Finally, there was the last leg, where the #14 had gotten in off the AE list. My Pal Ariana had run many of her races on the polytrack or turf, so, although she was 5-2, I didn’t like her much. I went with Paco Lopez on the rail with what looked like the speed of the speed (none of these horses were much), as well as a couple horses who I felt could handle the sloppy track. My final ticket was constructed as such:


R8: 2-6-10

R9: 4-14

R10: 5-7-10


R12: 1-11-13

R13: 1-6-12


I then added up the ticket to see what it would cost me. I did the simple math and realized the ticket would cost me 48 dollars. I had 20 in the account, was another deposit of 28 really worth it? After two long hours of studying this junk, I thought it would be stupid to not have anything to follow for the next few hours, so I went ahead and put it in.


The first two legs went on without much doubt. Pletcher crushed, and Trujillo’s horse in the second leg dominated much like I thought. Following this was the first leg where I found difficult. First click, my 7 horse off a 12-1 ML was 5-2. I was thrilled because at this point you really could care less about the odds, you would rather see your horse get pounded than not get any play at all. The races goes off, the Walder horse folds around the turn, but there is my 7 sitting off the speed, ready to make a huge move around the turn. As they straightened for home, I said “wow, I think I have this.” With about a half a furlong left, I saw a horse making steady progress down the middle of the track. At first, I couldn’t figure out who it was, then I realized it was none other than the 3, who I had deleted off my ticket at the last minute. The 7 was struggling, the 3 was coming, It was just a question of whether the wire would get there for me in time. The 7 held off the 3 by a neck, and I exhaled. It was onto the next one.


After the third leg, I couldn’t sit still, so I went for a walk over to the office of Residential Life to make sure my group’s housing application was all good (we had to make our room selection that following Monday). I walked over, and much to my chagrin, they were closed. After this, I figured it was time to know if I had won the 4th leg, so I got the race through TVG on my phone, and it was having some trouble loading. Finally, I saw “11- 10.80”. I thought to myself, did I have this horse? I honestly couldn’t remember until I realized that the 11 was Trinni Heart! I thanked Zaikov was horse other worldly performance just those few short weeks before, because if he had not been as visually impressive as he was, I probably wouldn’t have had Trinni Heart.


I get back to my room, watch the 5th leg, and Charlie in Charge held off Bartolome, who I did not have on my ticket as the favorite.  Another little tidbit: The reason I had Charlie in Charge was because of the fact that my dad had him in a pick 3 on the grass earlier in the meet where he went wire to wire at 30-1. We were unfortunately knocked out in the final leg, but I felt this horse owed us, and also, did not want to get beat by him.


After the 5th leg prices are posted, I anxiously await the pick 6 payoffs. Finally, they appear. I believe it was around 1700 to the 1, with my main man Paco Lopez in the irons. The 6 was paying around 3000 and the 12 was paying around 3800. Those 20 minutes between races were probably the longest 20 minutes of my life. I got back to my dorm, and went straight into my room.  Finally, the race went off. Paco took the lead, just as I had suspected. The half mile was soft, it was around a 50 if my memory serves me right. I kept thinking to myself, how fitting would it be if my favorite jockey won this for me with a brilliant ride on the front end. The ¾ time was posted:  it was posted in around 1:16. I kept thinking, I have this, I have this, there is no way anyone is going to close on this. Then, came the devil as far as I was concerned: The #14 horse, who I did not like much at all, was making a big move around the far turn, and actually headed Paco and the #1 for a brief time. I thought, well that is it you dope, your stubbornness just cost you 1500 dollars. As I looked up, Paco went to the stick and the 1 horse had responded, and was once again running eye to eye with the 14. Paco went to the stick a couple more times, and the 1 took off. She pulled away to win comfortably, wrapped up in the end. I was in shock. I could not believe that I had gotten the correct sequence. I had obviously started yelling during the race, so my one roommate asked me what the hell was going on. I told him the story, and they all congratulated me. I then awaited the payoffs. They were taking ridiculously long to post the race official, I wondered to myself if there was an inquiry, but there were none posted. After 15 long minutes, they posted the race official with a pick six payoff of 4,234.01. My jaw dropped to the floor. Not only did I win, but I actually won 2600 more than I originally thought, as the payables posted prior to the race were incorrect.


So that is that. By far the biggest score of my life, probably the biggest score I will ever have. These are the kind of stories that keep horse players coming back. Bad beats and all (I was alive to the .50 P4 on Sunday to the 10 horse with Johnny V for 2500, only to come 2nd, but that is a story for another day), this is what we love, and what we will forever love. This is why I love this game.


We thank Rob for sharing his story! You can follow him on Twitter at @Harding_Rob.

If you’d like to share your awesome race story on Memories & Memorabilia, just send a brief description of your special moment or item (along with a photo, if possible) to info@DanonymousRacing.com. 


2 thoughts on “Why We Love This Game — Written by Rob Harding”

  1. Wow what a great story with a perfect ending. Fantastic handicapping by a very sharp young man. Good work and keep up the dedication to the game. I have every reason to believe you will be successful at whatever you should choose to do!

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