Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Track Story

Saturday morning, I went to Aqueduct Racetrack to conduct an interview (more on that in several weeks). At the Borough Hall subway stop in Brooklyn, I asked the conductor of an A train if he was stopping at Aqueduct. He said, "No, you need the next A. The one to Far Rockaway."

As he was closing the train's doors, he asked, "You got a sure winner?"

"Yeah," I said, chuckling, and thanked him for the transportation advice.

As the train started to pull out of the station, he leaned out of his booth and said, impatiently gesturing with his hand, "Gimme that sure thing."

Since I wasn't going to the track to play the races, I knew nothing about the day's card. But I didn't want to disappoint him, or look unprepared, or something, so I just made it up -- "Number four in the first race," I said, holding up four fingers.

Then I started to feel bad. It was almost two hours to post time. He had plenty of time to call in a bet if he wanted, and he did seem eager to hear the pick. Granted, I don't look like the most trustworthy source for a "sure thing," and there are no sure things, anyway, so if this guy was going to believe the word of someone on an A platform at 11 o'clock on a Saturday morning, that's his problem. But I have an overdeveloped sense of guilt. So I started hoping that the 4 horse would be scratched when I got to the track.

Almost as good, the 4 was 6/5 on the board. At least I gave the guy a favorite.

The horse -- All About -- went off at 2-1, attracting just a hair less attention than the favorite, Ivory Star. I had put five dollars on him. I couldn't be left standing there without a ticket if he won. He busted out of the gate to a strong lead. He extended the lead on the back stretch to at least five lengths. Around the far turn, he was pouring it on. For 90% of the race, he looked likely to win it for fun. Alas. Deep in the stretch, he tired, and Ivory Star caught him a few strides before the wire. It wasn’t exactly Personal Ensign winning the Distaff, but it was bad. I smiled and thought of the conductor on the A train.


Blogger Fox said...

That story smells like New York. Thanks for the whiff, it brings me back home for a wonderful moment.

4:18 PM  

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