A good friend of mine who I really trust, and listen to his advice, gave me something to think about. He said, “don’t you think you have enough chances to hit that huge winner to set you up? ” I must have been going through a bad moment, because I drew a breath and realized he may be right…….
But, as they say in the NFL: “after further review, I have found that last statement to be lacking the truth.”
If all that I wanted was to hit the jackpot, I would have went another direction. Here are a few ideas:
Walk around with a pocketful of lottery tickets.
Create an elaborate scheme to bilk investors.
Break into Fort Knox….
Create a new $19.99 invention for an infomercial.
Sit outside the ballpark with a tin cup and sign that says – please help this losing horseplayer.
Or, I could ignore this one bit of advice from a dear source that I cherish. He knows how much the beauty and pageantry runs through my soul with racing. He knows that the Breeders’ Cup Classic was on my bucket list, even if I had to climb the fence. I wouldn’t let the great Zenyatta make history 90 miles from my home. The many times we made road trips, and scraped change to make the gas station. How we would pull enough money together so he could get a beer only after we made a wager in the last race. The way we would laugh when he or I hit a winner. Sweating in the sun, and freezing in the cold together for years. I think he forgot that 98% of our conversations were not about me graduating college, or what goes into my chili. But, it always starts with: “did you see who rode a winner last night?” There is the action. Not the kind that drives people off of the bridge, but the kind that brings tears to your eyes every Kentucky Derby when they play the song, or the day when my horse won his first race. Those little bits of history are not all of me, but they make up a portion that loves racing. I don’t drink, smoke, or run the bar scene. I would rather go the races. Hell, the worst thing that could happen is that I come home broke….
I didn’t begin looking for my pot of gold, or look to become a millionaire. I go because I truly love the game. Big races, or cheap claimers. It doesn’t matter, and working in the industry has afforded me practically every opportunity to try so many things we only dreamt about. So, don’t get me wrong…. Winning is great, and winning big would only be sweeter. But, the action I seek is one born of love and emotion. It is pure and rare. Many think they feel the same, but ask them if they watch quarter horses on TV at 1:30 a.m.? How about watching English racing in the morning? I’ll wager dollars to donuts that many don’t feel the same. If it is a deuce or a $100 buck wager, I get the same lump in my throat, and hope I always will. I have decided that I would not pass this onto my son. This will stop with me, and if he wants to learn the game I will be more than happy to impart to him the same love of the game that was shown to me…
In a nutshell…. The answer is no…… I will always have a chance. If not today, then tomorrow sounds like a great opportunity. The game is a part of me, and I hope I will be one of those old men that I write about. They love the game, and win or lose they always come back as long as time allows. I hope you understand that I regretfully disagree, but it doesn’t mean I think any less of you. I sure hope our next conversation starts with your big win, or how much fun we have shared over the years. If that is the case, I have always been the big winner just having you to share this with……