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Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Horse Racing

Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at 10:27 PM

Looking ahead to Saturday and the Kentucky Derby, have you ever attended a horse race? Did you place a bet? Did you win or lose?

I knew a chief petty officer while in the Navy who read all the racing news in the Los Angeles newspapers. He never actually placed a bet, but he wrote down his choice of winners each day and checked the results the following day.

He had his system and did remarkably well.

The newspaper listed the entries in each race, how well those horses had performed in the past and listed the jockeys and how many winners they had ridden.

He picked winners based on the jockeys rather than the horses and said a top jockey would ride only a top horse.

What are your thoughts on his system?

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I had a friend whose dad was a bookie and a brother-in-law who was a jockey. The brother-in-law always said it was more than just a good jockey on a good horse -- the rider and mount had to "click." A truly great jockey on an average horse, when they "click" can put all the rest to shame -- so said he. So, I think it's the combination of the two that makes for great horse races and winners.

I used to sneak out of school and go to the track when I was younger. My friend's father would let us place "bets" with him. I used to save up and place two-dollar bets. I would go down to the paddock and watch the horses before betting. I usually chose the horses that looked excited with alert eyes and prancing feet. They usually ended up in win, place or show. I wasn't learned enough to read about their odds and how they had faired on dry or muddy tracks. I just went with the horse that looked like he would run for the sheer joy of it. I still have some of my winnings -- all in two-dollar bills. I got to watch the Preakness yearly, but wasn't allowed to "bet" on them.

My mother liked to bet the trotters in upstate New York. Her technique was to choose a horse that had a name of someone she knew and liked. Failing that, she would choose the jockey with the "prettiest" silks. She always walked away with more than she bet.

While at the track I learned of and saw many "systems" for choosing winners, but they never seemed any more effective than my mother's or mine when I was much younger.

-- Posted by amalphia on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 6:06 PM

Its funny you write about horse racing today.My son lives in Saratoga Springs New York where Saratoga Race Course is. It opened on August 3, 1863, and is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States.

My son is getting marrried there on the week-end of July 12 and there is a big race that week-end also. We made our hotel reservation back in January, and we have family and friends flying in for the wedding. I have told everyone months ago to book rooms. What do you think the odds are for find a hotel room now..lol!

-- Posted by redcat00 on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 6:57 PM

With a wet, sloppy track in the forecast, which horse do you predict will win the Kentucky Derby?

-- Posted by bomelson on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 3:56 PM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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