I’ve never won much on horses. I started betting when my boyfriend fell in love with the races (see his post here) and started dragging me to Aqueduct, where at least I always had the ladies’ room all to myself, if nothing else.
I posted earlier about my derby disappointment when Mine That Bird came from out of nowhere to win the race–I didn’t see the point in throwing more money away today. But finally convinced to make some bets (yes, I’m easily swayed), I put $2 on Pioneer of the Nile to show, $2 on Friesan Fire to win, and a $2 box exacta on Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra. The scene at the OTB was nothing like derby day. The closest thing to an accessory was a walker (not pictured).
An old man held the door open for me as I walked in, then turned to my boyfriend and winked. “You picked a winner,” he said.
Of course, we all know how this story ends.
Equipped with beer and fries, I settled in at a bar to watch the race. As the bartender struggled to get the sound to work, my heart started pounding. Technical challenges on top of a competition of pure animal prowess! What could be more nerve-racking? As the horses moved into the gate, the sound crackled into being over the bar’s loudspeakers, and Big Drama caused some big drama by bucking his rider just before the start. “Don’t kick Mine That Bird!” I heard myself shouting. Jeez.
The race was, as all races are, mostly confusing and very exciting. There was shouting at the TV, thumping at the bar, and pounding of the heart. And then at the end, at the very end, as Mine That Bird pulled up into second behind Rachel Alexandra, there was victory. Victory for ladies everywhere, but mostly for me.
The winning ticket.
Walking back into the OTB, the scent of black-eyed susans radiating from my body, probably, another old man nudged his friend to move aside to let me by. “He didn’t believe in the filly,” he said, motioning at his buddy. “But today is ladies’ day.”
Yes it is; the $36.80 in my pocket proves it. Look at Babette here, the only one I saw at the OTB who bothered to get decked out in race day finery. She knows today’s our day.