In college, I studied botany and music. What does a botanical musician do for money, you ask? Get another degree. So I went to teaching, a career so financially lucrative Sarah Palin made a campaign promise that if she won, she’d make sure we all got our rewards. In heaven.
This, of course, begs all kinds of questions. Is it easier to levy taxes in heaven than it is here? Is there an exchange rate? And, is that a guarantee of entrance? Because last I checked my chances were not that great.
While we wait for all that to get sorted out (maybe that’s what she’s working on, having freed herself from that pesky governance job), I’ve thought to supplement my income a little by writing. Oh, wait, poetry doesn’t make money until you’re dead. So perhaps a new strategy?
Like horse racing! Perfect.
We hit the Saratoga Race Track on Monday, parking ourselves, not in the lucrative stands but out by the picnic tables with the rest of the delightful rabble. From there, we didn’t even have to bother ourselves with the actual horses because the races were displayed on the pixelated jumbo-tron and rosettes of television screens shaded by permanent beach umbrellas. It was brilliant.
We didn’t know, but apparently part of the tradition in the picnic section is to bring coolers large enough to fit small children filled with sustenance for an army. All around us families were digging into Costco tubs of potato salad, building extravagant sandwiches and putting away bags of potato chips. One couple even brought a Tupperware juice container of – I swear – white wine and were sipping it out of plastic wine glasses.
Other tables, like this one, decided to bring all of their sustenance in the from of liquid carbohydrates. And obviously it’s been a thirsty day.
The track, of course, is not about food and beer (What? I know, it can be confusing), but about finding more creative ways to spend your money. Like betting. There are more ways to bet on a horse then, well, beer cans at the track. You can bet to win, place or show. You can bet on the first three placing order. You can bet on who will win several races in a row. I think the only thing you can’t bet on is that a specific horse (like the ones I like) will loose. And, of course there are the myriad of highly scientific strategies for choosing horses to lay your hard earned teaching money on. Some of the ideas we heard were:
- The winning-est jockeys tend to ride the best horses, so bet on them
- The horses with the most veins sticking out must have the largest muscles (really, this is what the guys were taking about watching the horses warm up)
- The frisky horses have the most energy and will run the fastest
- The purple silks are they luckiest
- Bet on the brown ones (they’re all brown, Janet, I looked)
Kelly and I settled on the strategy of bet on the horse with the most interesting name, which led us to place our fortunes (okay, two bucks) in the hands of this dashing beast.
(Note: dark brown!)
We also placed bets on Queen of Hearts, Gravitational, Borrowed Base, Cherry on the Top and a myriad of others and basically lost money until, and here’s the break through in our money making scheme, we starting screwing up. Yes, Kelly hit the wrong button on the electronic bet placer and we placed a bet on Gentle Ride (#11) instead of #10. From the start of the race he took the lead and pounded across the finish line winning us 15 bucks! Okay, it was his twenty, to technically, the error won him the $15. When combined with a few other minor wins the net total for the day was $1.50. Not counting the entrance fee, lunch, racing programs and beer.
So much for winning my fortune at the track. At least the horses were pretty.
Jockeys entering in prepration for the race, Saratoga Springs Race Track, Saratoga Strings, NY