Wiping the sweat from his face, “Country Jim” was holding court talking his Kentucky banter. His speeches were about U.K. basketball, politics, and the worst feeling in the world for a gambler. Jim was a talker, and he was never afraid to let others know everything that was on his mind.
Jim had a great job, and jokingly said he had to stab many folks in the back to get that far! Once upon a time, he had a real crappy job. Yep, he was the guy at the track who would scoop up the used hay and oats in the paddock. But, this second job allowed him to be at the track daily, and what better benefit could a horse player get?
He would pick-up his program as he clocked in, and would have it rolled tight in his back pocket. This was a handicapping tool, and would double as a crop that smacked his leg when the horses would run. Jim loved to gamble, and would listen to the big players in the paddock. He would hear the “inside scoop,” and off to the windows he would run. One afternoon, he heard two owners talking about a horse that could not lose. They were keeping it low, and Country Jim was all tied in to get any info he could. The pair of gents said he had been training well with some of the workouts at a local farm, and would not be noted. This was all Jim needed to know, as he ran off at breakneck speed to get to the windows.
He had all of his check on “Blue Moon,” and they were about to break from the gate. He was starting to sweat, and then all at once he heard… AND THEY’RE OFF !!
At 7-1, Jim stood to make a handsome score. They traveled down the backstretch, and he could see his runner laying perfectly along the rail in 4th. The Kentucky blue silks made it even more of a reason to love him, and he was siting chilly along the rail. They just passed the 3/8 th’s pole, and his charge was in tight, and had nowhere to go. But, they had the entire stretch to make it up, and he had just pulled out his crop to get busy as the horse were coming.
As the colts came rolling down the lane, he could see Blue Moon going backwards….. He felt like an elephant had just stepped on his toes. As he made his way back to the paddock to scoop away the past, he overheard the two owners talking about the “big horse” who was on his way up to be saddled. They were really excited, and Jim had realized his ears had failed him… Country Jim had bet the wrong horse. He loved to listen to the big money folks, and would follow anything they said. So, before he heard the entire story, he had missed that it wasn’t Blue Moon, but in fact it was Kentucky Blue….. He summed it up, and I could feel his pain. You know the results without even looking as Kentucky Blue paid $12.40 to win.