I have never been a superstitious punter. But I know many that won’t step on a crack, or go to the races without their lucky shirt. There was one guy who used carry a horseshoe in his back pocket. He claimed it was from Alydar, but I guess everyone would probably say the same. Bob the bus driver made his nightly route bringing fans to the races. He drove the route from Covington, Kentucky right up to the front door. I would see him twice a night when his bus would drop off the lucky players at the valet circle. When they would unload, he would jog his large frame to the entrance and make his nightly wagers. Sounds innocent enough, huh? That was until the night that Bob told me where he gets his handicapping guidance.
Bob was married for twenty years when his wife left him… He told me it was his worst day as she left him for a cab driver. Being down in the dumps, and without any children, Bob moved in with his mother. Mom was well-known in the area. She had been turning tarot cards and telling fortunes for years. This was a family profession handed down generations.
Each night, Bob’s mother would send him out with some small wagers. They would be names, numbers, and colors mostly. But, he carried her wagers with pride, and he told me sometimes she does pretty good. I used to be the parking manager, and would see Bob jogging in without fail for many years. I made my way into the office, and over time I lost track of Bob the bus driver. That was until the Preakness last Saturday. Bob was walking with a cane, and had long retired from his route. I asked about his mother, and he sadly told me she had passed away ten years earlier.
So, I looked at my old pal from the parking lot days, and asked him what he was doing at the track. He said he was there to make a sentimental bet for his mother. I asked what wager he was going to make for Lady Cynthia. He told me how she liked to have a hi-ball, or two each night after her communication with the spirit world was complete. He said mom would call out to him that she, “would like to have another.” I walked away after shaking Bob the bus driver’s hand, and said it was good to see him. It wasn’t until the next day when I returned to cash a few small tickets, that I saw Bob leaving with some big bills in his hand. He said mom came through again, and lucky for him, she liked to have a few drinks as I’ll Have Another ran one helluva race!
He shook my hand once again, and said he would probably see me on Belmont day. He said it was destined to be a lucky day, as his mom’s horse was going for the Triple Crown. As he walked out the door with the aide of his cane, I thought of the big man who would jog in every night for years to make Lady Cynthia’s bets. Lucky for him, she always had more than one drink, and had to ask for another.