The Gambler’s Curse

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 14, 2018 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

We can remember with incredible detail about bad beats. – Can you say the same about your big score? – Oh, you remember how it went down and the crisp cash you held in your hand. But the loss is like a color photo in your noggin. – For me, I could tell you about some scores that were sweet and how the win was needed. – The loss is remembered in date, horse name, and how much invested. – Is this a bad dream or the “Gambler’s Curse.”

Last year I was watching races on my phone. Small screen with big action. – I made a $100 pick-four and watched as it finished out paying $8,000. – I couldn’t begin to tell you the name of the runners, races, or date. Why? – But with the detail of an oil painting, I can tell you how I was standing at River Downs as a young man. I took off work a little early and wanted to start my weekend. A couple of beers and some live racing action. What more could a young man ask for? – I made a sweet three horse box exacta and had two 25-1 shots coupled with an 8-1. – The 25-1’s ran 1st and 2nd and the bet was going to pay nice. – Up popped the inquiry sign, and after what seemed an eternity the numbers went blank and my runner was taken down. – A bad beat found me as I tossed my beer in the trash and walked to the car. Not the way to start a long weekend.

I was trying to do some big money wagering long ago. – I kept a watch list for runners and decided to make a handful of place wagers each week at New York, Florida or California. I had time to study and watch these three tracks and was making 2-3 big wagers per week. – I was off and running, and loved two runners on the same day. I made a $500 place wager on a 6-1 shot and won $1,500. – I took the money and carried it over to the next runner. – The odds weren’t as good but when he won and I had $2,750. Not a bad day at the office as I made two bets in less than an hour and won over $2,000. – I knew it was at Saratoga, but for another $2,000 I couldn’t begin to tell you the names of the horses. Why?

I have told you of the worst beat of my life many times. – But, it started so good it was hard to believe it turned bad. – I walked into Arlington and it was Million weekend. I arrived a day early and wanted to catch the 2nd half of the card, check in, and do some homework. – I won a couple hundred and made my way to the simulcast parlor for a nice dinner and watched a few simulcast races. – After winning $500 playing Mountaineer, I made my way to the room to study. What a start to the weekend.

The next day I made a mental promise in the shower not make any wagers except Arlington races. After all, that’s why I was there. – As I walked in I saw a rain-soaked Saratoga and smiled as it was sunny and perfect in Chicago. – But something caught my eye. It was a runner I had been waiting for for a month. He loved the mud and it was a sealed sloppy for New York. – Ok, ok. Just one bet. That’s all. Then back to my word. – I bet $200 to win on my horse and he splish-slashed home paying $20. I was up $2,000 before making my first Chicago bet. – I made small bets all day and was “having a very good day as Richard Dreyfus would say in Let It Ride.” – I loved a horse in the Arlington Million and he was 9-2. I rolled my pick-three’s, fours, and had him keyed in exactas, and trifectas. Win and place money, and it was time to sit back and watch. – The first three rolled right in and all paid well. It was time for my big race. The payoff was going to be a life-changer. – When he turned for home, he angled out perfectly and grabbed the lead. – This was too good to be true, and right then my horse veered out sharply at the wire and dropped the rider. The spill was horrible and looked bad for the rider. I watched for 20 minutes as they showed the replay a hundred times it seems. – Then when the numbers went dark on the board I knew this was going to be the worst beat of my gambling life. – I do remember his name. Storming Home as he was ridden by my favorite rider at the time Gary Stevens who sustained life-threatening injuries. – I made one more win bet the next race and left winning money, but nothing like the life changer that eluded me.

The “Gambler’s Curse” is one where we remember big losses more than the big wins. – Why? – That will be the eternal question for this horse player and gamblers from all walks. – We do remember some recent good winners, but for some reason, the losses stick out like a sore thumb. – I guess we’ll walk the world guessing and questioning why as we trudge onward. – Something I’ve learned is to put them behind you. Let it go, and move on the next race. – In the words of Jimmy the Greek; “ Well, that’s over. Let’s move on to tomorrow.”