“NAY” Sayers Welcome

At least once a Summer we try and go to Arlington Park International Race Course to see the ponies run (makes me sound like I know what I’m doing when I say that, huh?).  Most times we go as a big gathering with my husbands side of the family and we picnic, relax and drop a few $ as a fun and uncommon way to spend an afternoon.  This year I was starting to think that we might not get the opportunity to go, as the summer seemed to pass all too quickly.  Happily however, we managed to round up just a few takers on the last official weekend of the Summer, Labor Day weekend.

It was the perfect day to spend out on the benches in front of the track and turf. 

The place was crowded and as always, a buzz of excitement filled the air. Unfortunately you can’t tell that from this picture, but trust me OK?

Now, contrary to what you might already think, I do not really understand horse race betting.  At all.  Every time we go, we each get the daily racing guide for that day’s lineup of horses, jockeys and distances.  While most people are studying things like the past performance data and horse and jockey stats, I’m looking for the horse names I like and/or the color of the jockeys uniform.  You know, important stuff like that!

It was the 4th race of the day and I was starting to get annoyed at my lack of picking skills.  Incase you don’t already know, I get bored easily and if I’m not winning, I’m ready to call it a day.  It was still early in the day however and so I studied the form and made my decision based on something different this time.  I actually looked at the race commentary ~ Go figure!  It was easy to read and easy to understand.  The horse I chose for race #4, with an approximate post time of 2:29 p.m. was noted for his speed! Ah Ha! Not a bad thing when you’re looking to beat the other horses I reckon!

Now I’m going to tell you another little secret about myself.  Not only do I bore easily, if I’m going to place a bet on a horse, I certainly want to win something more than the 40 cents a $2.00 bet would bring in.  I’d like something a bit more substantial, thank you very much!  Now I’m not a big gambler by nature, but I do tend to “go big or go home” when I do bet, which is the very reason I don’t go very often 🙂

Here is my informed choice for race #4.  Her name is “Hurta” and she is a beauty indeed! I my placed $5 on “Hurta” to win and made my way up to the railing by the track.  The railing was packed with people but I squeezed in next to a little boy to my right, that I would guess to be approximately 6 years old.  We exchanged pleasantries, discussed which horse we had each chosen for this particular race (his mom did his betting) and then our conversation quickly turned to the nitty-gritty of horse racing. 

I unfortunately didn’t have many pearls of wisdom to share with him, but he shared a whopper with me that I will never forget.  He told me, “Make sure you always pick the horse that could run the fastest”.  Eureka!  Such sage advice from my new young friend. 


………..he was right! How about that? The fastest horse DID win!!! They actually always do, the trick it to pick it BEFORE they race!!!

That day,  my $5 bet won me $17.23 (can you figure out what the odds were?) after the $5 bet.  Yippee!  Not so fast though.  I’d like to say that I kept picking the fastest horses on the track, and that I kept winning the rest of the afternoon thanks to my new friends advice.  But, not so much.  All in all, I think I was down a few bucks at the end of the day but the fun and enjoyment spent… Priceless!


  1. I love watching horses, walk, run, jump, whatever. I envy that you are able to attend the races. Whatever I learned about horse betting I learned from the movie *The Sting* One day I may get down to Saratogo races and place some bets…to win, place and show 🙂 Enjoyed this post very much. Glad you enjoyed the day.

  2. Nice photos. I didn't realize you took pictures that day. Or is it I just don't remember???

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