Susan L. Sweeney
A week later, on Wednesday, February 9th,
Ed was headed for the Penn National OTB to bet two Santa
Anita races and he asked me if I wanted to go along.
Just that morning I had been in our local courthouse
filing some papers regarding our deed. They had a metal
detector, so I emptied most of the contents from my
purse. These contents happened to include my pocketsize
Tomlinson pedigree ratings (before the time we had
decided to purchase the two backup copies of his
Mudders and Turfers). When Ed and I arrived at the
OTB, I opened my purse and I saw it only contained $20
so I decided to buy a voucher for this amount, relax,
and bet for fun.
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It was quiet in the OTB since
it was still early afternoon so Ed and I had our choice
of seats and we sat in front of a bank of
TVs. I watched several
Fair Grounds post parades and in two separate races, I
had noticed horses that looked physically ready and I
bet $2 across the board on each. To my surprise, both
hit for double digits. Ed had already made his first
bet and his horse came in third so we were waiting for
his next wager.
I went back to watching the
post parade at the Fair Grounds, and this time I saw a
horse that looked amazing. He had a
huge arched neck; he
was prancing on his toes; and he had a determined look
in his eye, coupled with an attitude that was saying to
the world, “I am going to kick ass today”. As soon as
he passed by, another horse came along with
exactly the same look
and attitude, and suddenly I was faced with a dilemma.
I had never seen two horses in one race looking so good.
I borrowed Ed’s Equibase
Program to examine the race and was happy to learn that
it was a 5-furlong Maiden Special Weight race on the
turf. I noticed the sire for one of the two horses was
Zen. I reached in to fetch my Tomlinson turf pedigree
numbers out of my purse and discovered they were not
there. I thought, okay, this is the reason you memorize
these numbers and I was thinking Zen was a 170
Tomlinson, which would make him capable, though not
dominant on the grass.
I checked the other good-looking horse for his
sire, and compared all the other sires, to see if any
one of them had a true advantage over any other on the
grass. It was then that I noticed the 5 horse was out of
Dixieland Band. I gasped. Just yesterday, for some
unknown reason, Ed had mentioned to me that Dixieland
Band is an extremely potent sire. He said that horses
sired by Dixieland Band “can literally do anything.
They can go short, long, run in the mud, on the turf;
you name it, this sire can do it.” Strangely, up until
yesterday Ed had never said a word to me ever about any
sire. So when I saw the Dixieland Band horse, my
thoughts were “I can’t bet either of the other two
horses across the board because Dixieland Band can beat
I went to the self-service
terminal about two minutes to post and made the decision
to box the three horses in a $1 trifecta for $6. I
finally could sit back down, relax, and check out the
odds of my selections. Suddenly, I sat back up and onto
the edge of my seat. The odds were 17/1, 50/1 and
40/1. As soon as I noticed those whopping odds, the
race was off.
The Dixieland Band horse got
the lead right away and was running away from the field.
So many thoughts were going through my head, many of
them telling myself how so very stupid I was for not
having bet the Dixieland Band horse across the board.
The other part of me was more optimistic, daydreaming
what a huge trifecta it would be with these longshots
one-two-three. I knew in my heart that this would
never happen to me, especially since my other two horses
were nowhere on the screen.
It was a short race. Only a
minute had gone by, with all these contradictory
thoughts swirling in my mind, when suddenly the
Dixieland Band crossed the wire first and my two other
horses followed in second and third!
Ed was sitting next to me with
his back sort of pushing into his chair, just studying
the screens, when I lost my ability to speak and I
started tugging on his shirtsleeve. He looked at me and
I was still mute. I tapped his
arm and pointing at the Fair Grounds television screen.
He did not understand me and had no clue what I had just
bet because I rarely announced my bets to him. Ed plays
with the discipline and focus of a statue on Mount
Rushmore, so I would have driven him crazy if I told him
every wager I made, since I played so often and
seemingly with no discipline.
Finally, I blurted out a few words:
“I think I hit that trifecta!”
Ed said, “What trifecta,
where?” And I said, “At the Fair Grounds, and it’s
going to be huge!”
Seconds later the race was made
official and my three horses were right there on the
screen, the 5-10-12. Then the payouts came up, and I
saw an amount of $43,280, and I was thinking that it
must be the pick 6 payout. Suddenly I realized it was
for the $2 trifecta payout and I had half that amount
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