Charlie and Betty, At the Track

D. E. Larsen, DVM

 “I have a hot tip on a horse running in the third race at the State Fair Friday night,” Charlie said into the phone. “I would like to take you and Sandy up there with Betty and me if you can get free. This is a solid tip, we can make some money. Sort of like insider trading.”

 “I think we can get a baby sitter, we would be happy to go with you, thanks for the invite,” I replied.

    Charlie and Betty were right on time to pick us up Friday night. Charlie seemed excited to be on the way to the horse races, almost jovial.

“This is a solid tip I have on this horse,” He said as we sped through Sweet Home. “You probably knew that betting the horses is filled with pitfalls. You have to have good information from the trainers to make any money at it. Occasionally, a race comes along where the trainers stick a horse in the race to get track experience. Rarely, one of these races ends up with one good horse, and all the others are just there for the experience. This race is a sure bet, I hope you brought enough money to make a good bet.”

     “I brought some money,” I said, “but I probably have a different experience at the track than you have Charlie. My experience has been based on luck, and I have suffered from overconfidence at times.”

    “I’m telling you, and you can take this to the bank, this is not overconfidence, this is the closest thing to a sure thing at the track you will ever see,” Charlie said in a stern voice, seeming to be irritated that I might question this tip.

   Friday night and the State Fairgrounds were packed. We did find a parking spot. Charlie walked at a fast pace, I think he was excited. I could keep up with him, but Sandy and Betty lagged far behind. They did not catch up with us until we were standing in line to buy admission tickets to the races.

    “This is a good thing,” Charlie said. “A large crowd means a bigger payout.”

    We picked up hot dogs and a beer at the concession stands and found our way to set of seats about a third of the way up the grandstands. The good thing was it was close to the breezeway to the betting windows. After downing the hot dogs, Sandy and I set about picking a horse for the first race.

   “I’m telling you Doc, don’t waste your money on two-dollar bets. You need to take all your money and put it on the #6 horse in the 3rd race,” Charlie said in a hushed voice, not wanting to give away any information to somebody who might overhear the conversation.

    “I’m pretty conservative at betting, I try to pick the best horse and bet him to show,” I explained.

   “You won’t win enough to pay for the gas getting here,” Charlie snorted.

   Sandy and I went along with Charlie and watched the first 2 races. As the third race was announced, Charlie sprang to his seat.

“Give me your money, and I will buy the tickets, I don’t want any mistakes of this one,” Charlie said with his hand outstretched.

   I handed him a $10.00 bill, and shuddered a little, remembering the horserace in Boston where I was overconfident and lost $10.00 on a horse which I bet to win.

    Charlie must have been first in line because it was not long, and he was back. He handed me our ticket, and we stood to watch the race, not really looking at the ticket. Charlie was all smiles and a little agitated. I was guessing that he was starting to question his tip.

  Horse races don’t take long to run. They spend a lot of time getting the horses out on the track and parade up and back to allow adequate time for the betting to take place. Once in the starting gate, they are off in short order. The #6 horse had a good start and was in the lead by a full length at the first corner. There was never any question after that point, and he won with a solid lead. Charlie almost threw Betty in the air. We were happy also. This horse had pretty favorable odds, something like 6 to 1. Charlie and I headed to pay windows. I started to get in line for the $10.00 window, and Charlie grabbed my arm and pulled me over to the high stakes window. Now I looked at my ticket, it was a ticket for #6 horse to win in the 3rd race, but it was a $100.00 ticket.

    “You must have got your tickets mixed up,” I said to Charlie.

    “No, that is your ticket, I assumed the risk, you can pay me back out of the winnings,” He said, handing me my $10.00 bill back.

    I collected the $600.00 and handed Charlie his $100.00. I am not sure how much Charlie had bet on the race, but he had a lot of money in his hands.

    “Now we have enough money to bet a few Quinellas or Trifectas. I will teach you how to win a little money at the track. But remember, you have to have an in with the trainers, and you have to trust their tips. If you don’t know Randy, I will introduce you one of these days.”

    Sandy and Betty were awaiting our return, Sandy was feeling pretty frisky thinking we had won $50.00 or $60.00. She was a little surprised when I handed her a couple hundred dollar bills. 

“Charlie insured our bet at a little higher value than my $10.00,” I told her.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Published by d.e.larsen.dvm

Country vet for over 40 years in Sweet Home Oregon. I graduated from Colorado State University in 1975. I practiced in Enumclaw Washington for a year and a half before moving to Sweet Home to start a practice.

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