A sunny day on Sunday at Keeneland is the greatest place to be. On this day, it was beautiful. Heaven had descended on Lexington for the afternoon. It was military day, and the “Grade One Gamble” contest.
I was in a room which they had built in 1984 for Queen Elizabeth. It held around 50 people comfortably, and on this day, there were 36 of the best handicappers in the country. Many are folks you read about, one was the DRF / NTRA champion, huge players, and fans of the purest sense. It was a regal gathering….
The card was going to be played on Keeneland only, and you had to play a minimum of $250 per race. It was a $3,000 buy-in, with $2,000 going to your live bankroll, which you got to keep. You could make win, place, and show wagers as well as exactas and trifectas.
I was prepared, and just wanted to play my personal best. Here I was in coat and tie with some of the best folks I have ever met in racing. The day was set…..
There were 9 live races, and I hit 9 straight races. I had trifectas each time, and made a couple of $100 win bets that were golden. The day was solid, and I was 11th as we hit mid-card. As the races rolled on, I saw a man bet $2,000 to win, and he jumped into the lead by a mile. I moved into 8th place. With two races to go, I was in 7th and was trying to increase my bankroll, as you had to bet half of your total in the last race. With 10 minutes to post in Race #9, I wagered $1,114 in a turf event. I hit the trifecta that paid over $500 for a $2 ticket. I had it three times for a $1 wager. After the smoke cleared, I was in 6th place and won $1,000 for my efforts, and got to keep the $2,000 bankroll I had accumulated. The day was over, and the memories will last a lifetime.
I have never played in a contest of this caliber, and I have to say it was exciting. I played with the best of the best, and they were all gentlemen I will know for years to come.
I don’t know if I will ever go this route again, but it was a wonderful memory. I swept the card, and was out-dueled by a man who made one great wager. No hard feelings, and I couldn’t have done any better. I enjoyed my day, and look forward to any contest that comes down the road.