I’m pickin’ Valentine, ’cause on the morning line, a guy has got him figured at five to nine

I realize this is SUPPOSED to be a QUESTIONS post, and that’s COMING, I promise, but I totally ran out of time to write it because I’m in super-hyper-planning mode for a VERY EXCITING DAY-TRIP I’m taking tomorrow with one of my (and your!) favorite people in all the blogiverse.

WHAT COULD IT BE WHAT COULD IT BE?

Well, when you’re reading this tomorrow, I’ll be in my car…heading for…

*TRUMPET FLOURISH*

I’m going to the races, baby!

One of my most most MOST favorite things about living where I do is being so close to one of our country’s most historic racetracks. I’d never been to the horse races before moving here. Roommate C. said, “Oh, we can go to Saratoga!” one summer, and I was like, “What? No. Horse racing? I hate gambling. That’s silly. Those poor horses. This will be dumb.”

NO NO NO CHARLIE!

Saratoga is AWESOME. It is STEEPED WITH HISTORY. You get there and it’s like you’re in olden times. People smoking fat cee-gars and people stomping around mad they lost and people running to the betting windows and HORSES! And JOCKEYS! And FAIR FOOD! (OK, it’s not really FAIR food, it’s TRACK food, but the two are practically the same thing. You can get an overpriced sausage AND a fried dough AND one of those ginormous watery lemonades with the half-lemon in it! Or like a $12 teeny tiny cocktail if that’s your thing. It’s not mine. Who pays $12 for a cocktail when you can SPEND THAT MONEY ON THE PONIES?)

Once I learned how to bet, I was the BEST at it. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Betting is super-hard!” Not if you use The Amy Method.

I’ll share it with you. I’m not bogarting the method.

Most people pore over the racing forms and the programs and compare jockey stats and how many wins the horse has and how well it runs on mud vs. how well it runs on clay or whatever ARE YOU SO BORED YET? Because I totally am. YAWNITY YAWN YAWN!

The Amy Method is this:

  • Read all the names of the horses
  • Pick the names that have “cat” or a variant of “cat” in them because you love cats
  • If there are no “cat” names, pick names that are awesome in other ways (literary, pun-tastic, remind you of someone you love, have someone you love’s name in the name, sound really funny when you say them out loud with your mouthhole, etc.)
  • If you end up with too many and you’re going to be betting on like, all the horses, narrow it down by what color silks the horse and the jockey are wearing (purple and green silks always are best because they’re my favorite colors)
  • ALWAYS put some money on the longshot, because that poor horse, you know? I always root for the underdog. Or, well, in this case, the underhorse. (Also, if he comes in, YOU WIN! Usually quite a little bit of money!)

This method will make the people you are at the track with SO MAD AT YOU. Ignore them! They don’t see the awesomeness. Not yet, anyway.

Then it’s time to bet. Some people like to go to the automated better machines. NOT ME! I like to talk to the people at the booth, because when they see how excited I am to be there, they are so nice. They’re used to dealing with jerkity jerks. (Also, make sure you get one of those programs they have at the gate that tells you how to place your bet, because it’s SO asshatty to go to the counter and be all, “Um…I want to bet on Ocean’s Pride?” Because that is WRONG. You have to say “Race 2, $2 Show Ocean’s Pride.” Then they’re like “DAMN! This lady KNOWS HER PONIES!”

This is what the tellers' booths look like. Old-timey, right? I LOVE THIS.

This is what the tellers’ booths look like. Old-timey, right? I LOVE THIS.

Also, learn how to box things. I don’t know exactly what that is, but one time I was at the track with a coworker and she taught me about it (it’s like picking who will come in first and second in whatever order, and it’s like $8) but somehow this is a magic bet and it wins you all the money. I never won large sums until I started doing this thing. Also, heh. Box.

Then you hang out for a long time and THEN IT IS TIME FOR THE RACE! You can watch it on the little TVs that are spread all over, or you can go right up to the rail and then the horses run past you all thundery-footed and that’s exciting and there’s a big scoreboard in the middle of the track that tells you who wins and if you win all the money.

See, in the distance? BIG SCOREBOARD!

See, in the distance? BIG SCOREBOARD!

SOMETIMES, with The Amy Method, you lose (like, let’s say probably a lot of the time) but DAMN did you have a good time not overthinking the ponies. Sometimes you win, and then you feel the BEST, because you didn’t even have to worry about mud or whatever, and the people you were at the track with look at you like you’re a crazy psychic, and you can totally do the Dance of Joy and say “I TOLD YOU CATDANCER WOULD WIN!”

NOW WE DO THE DANCE OF JOY!

Here, I’ll tell you who I’m betting on in some races tomorrow, so you can see my method IN ACTION.

You can click to embiggen this, I think.

Who are we picking in this race?

As you can see, there are (sadface) no cat-names.

However, there IS a “Pleasant Woodman” and that’s both a reference to Dad (well, he’s not “pleasant” but he’s a “woodman”) and also “woodman” is a very good euphemism. We also have “Orchestra Leader” which reminds me of someone I enjoy very much as a human. SO, we’re betting on THOSE two horses. I don’t care about the other ones because none of them strike me as exciting.

In the NEXT race…

What have we HERE? Well! The answer is CAT FEATHERS, baby! We always bet on cat-horses, remember? Now, we also have Opera Heroine, which is very theatery, and the two of them are both favored to win (although Opera Heroine might be scratched tomorrow when I get there…stupid “Take Her Tothe Top,” what the hell kind of name is THAT? Dad was all, “Tothe? What’s a Tothe?” and I was like, “It’s To the, only SMUSHED. I HATE that horse.”) so I’m going to BOX those two horses, and if they come in first and second, I WILL WIN SOME MAJOR MONIES!

I am also betting on Cubist and Lillehammer, because they are long shots, and because Cubist is artsy and Lillehammer sounds European and I love it.

So I’m totally going to win like a kajillion dollars on THAT race.

Oh, I mentioned Dad. Why would I have done such a thing?

DAD IS COMING WITH!

Yes, it is TRUE! I planned this whole fun day for myself because last year I was poor and unemployed during Saratoga season and didn’t get to go, and so I took a half-day tomorrow and was taking MYSELF to the track and was going to have the best solo adventure, and then Dad was all, “I want to come!” and that’s even MORE fun! Although he takes the ponies super-seriously, So there might be some grumbling and/or yelling. He bets like all the money, and says “We’re not here to EAT (or pee, or laugh, or tell stories, or point out people in funny pants), we’re here to BET!” and, well, I’m there to bet, but I’m also there to have the best time ever. So it’s going to be kind of Mutt and Jeff Go to the Races tomorrow. (He also gets SO MAD if I win and he doesn’t. He’s all “THIS IS RIGGED! I HAD A SYSTEM AND YOU PICKED YOUR HORSE BECAUSE HIS NAME HAD CHOCOLATE IN IT AND YOU LIKE CHOCOLATE!” Sometimes he throws his little racing receipt papers on the GROUND! It is all very violent.)

Sometimes, when the horses are waiting to run, they get ALL FRACTIOUS in these starting gates, and KICK AND KICK! It is all very worrisome.

Sometimes, when the horses are waiting to run, they get ALL FRACTIOUS in these starting gates, and KICK AND KICK! It is all very worrisome.

Then we are meeting one of my favorite cousins and possibly her kids for dinner a little way away and then I will come home and I will be all tired but also the most happy because SARATOGA!

I know. It’s all the most fabulous.

I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. If I win all the money, I won’t change. I promise. Except maybe I’ll make you all start calling me LADY Lucy’s Football, and I’ll buy a gold-plated litter scoop for Dumbcat.

(Dad said, “You’d better not tell those horses about Helper Mule. They won’t win any races for you. I think racehorses and Helper Mules are having a FEUD.” Hee! I would like to see that feud!)

HAPPY THURSDAY TO YOU! I’ll think of you when I’m betting across the board on the #5 horse in the 5th race. (If I lose, I’ll send a scowl your way, too. Why’d you tell me to bet on THAT horse, interwebs? Sheesh.)

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

26 responses to “I’m pickin’ Valentine, ’cause on the morning line, a guy has got him figured at five to nine

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Lillehammer is indeed European. It’s a place in Norway where they held the Winter Olympics some years ago (in 1994 Wikipedia informs me).

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    The Amy method of betting on horses reminds me of something.

    *ponders*

    Oh. Well, you’re not going to like it: Madeline Bassett in P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster used a similar method. And won a lot of money, incidentally. To everyone’s amazement.

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Have all the fun at the tracks with your dad and will all the money. All of it!

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! We had the best time. Just the best. But neither of us left with more than we came with. (We didn’t lose that much, though, and had a great day, so it was ok. Dad was crabby, but I just saw it as how much money I spent to have a great day at the track, and I was ok with it!)

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  • grrgoyl

    HA! I use a similar method when picking March Madness brackets, because my girlfriend is also SUPER SERIOUS about the brackets and I couldn’t care less. So I just look at the two team mascots and decide who would win in a fight. Like Fighting Irish vs. Wildcats — obvs the wildcat (it can only be a bare knuckles/no weapons fight). Of course it gets sticky when it’s like Wolverines vs. Panthers or somesuch (I always pick Wolverines because SNICKETY SNACK LOGAN X-MEN HUGH JACKMAN).

    Just like you and your dad, it makes my lady crazy on the very rare times my method prevails. Good times!

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    • lucysfootball

      I do the same thing with March Madness! Well, a LITTLE more scientific – I’ve been doing it for years, so know, say, Duke has a history of being good, etc. – but mostly choose based on things like “I like Gonzaga, because they sound like garbanzo beans, which are DELICIOUS, and I also like that they have a ‘z’ in their name and they are called the Zags” and it makes Dad INSANE.

      (I also don’t win much at the brackets…but neither does he, and he takes it VERY seriously!)

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  • summerstommy2

    Having lived with a weekend horse racing father for so many years I can tell you your method of picking a winner is as good as any other. It can be a lot of fun most times but when it’s not my dad would sigh and say ‘ it’s a hard game’. Enjoy your day.

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! I had a VERY good day. (And it’s true; Dad and I did about the same, and he used a very scientific method he spent hours on, while I chose dependent on how much I liked the names.)

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  • becomingcliche

    How can you not bet on Royal Fling Shot? It has all the goods. European AND a fun play on words. That’s where I’m putting all my money.

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  • cynthiaw

    I love the Amy method of picking horses – it is similar to mine and my method also makes my husband mad when I win all the money because he thinks about it a lot.

    It is also similar to when I helped my dad pick the football teams in his office pool every week when I was a wee child and picked based on the color of the uniforms and/or mascots and/or if my future husband Brian Sipe was playing for them (which didn’t help much because he played for the Browns) and we ended up winning more weeks than not – and at the end of the season he told everyone in the office how he won all the money and some of them were super mad because they had all studied real hard or something.

    I also pick my fantasy football team the sort of the same way – I pick guys that I like. For example, I will never pick Tom Brady because he’s a jerk. I guess. I don’t know – it’s not like I actually know him. And one year I was DEAD LAST, but I’ve also been third, fourth, and FIRST and I don’t even study for the draft or anything.

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    • lucysfootball

      I’ve had the same thing happen in office sports pools. I’ve lost, but I’ve also won. And people are SO ANGRY. Listen, my way of winning is as valid as yours, buddy. Just because I consult the oracle at Delphi about MY picks doesn’t mean that they’re any less valid. I still WON, didn’t I? Sheesh.

      (I also think it has to do with me having a uterus. NO LADIES ARE ALLOWED TO WIN SPORTS BETTING!)

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      • cynthiaw

        Probably especially not if you make your picks based on who has the best colors or the cutest bum!

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        • lucysfootball

          Well, I don’t TELL people how I pick. Especially not in an office. I just say, “I can’t tell you that, or I’d have to kill you.” And nod knowingly.

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          • cynthiaw

            lol – I think that’s what got my dad in trouble. The telling part – because everyone has some dumbass way that they pick at least one game. The funniest part about the story is that some guy in his office threw a huge hissy fit about the weeks that my dad won with “outside assistance”.

            He finally backed down when another guy pointed out that he was basically bitching about getting beat by a 9-year-old who was picking games based on the color of the uniform and mascot.

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  • The Bumble Files

    Amy, I love the horse races and my dad is super super serious about them! He does computer print outs, stats, etc. And, I love to bet the Trifecta. I don’t go often. It’s actually been years since I’ve been to the Del Mar track in San Diego. We had a blast last time. It is a great time!! Your method makes perfect sense to me. Go cats, cats go!! I hope you win lots of money and piss everybody off!

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    • lucysfootball

      I almost bet a trifecta for the first time but one of the horses scratched just SECONDS before the gate! I was so sad! (And if he’d run, there was a good chance I’d have won it, too! The other horses came in!) It is SO MUCH FUN! I did have a great time, I didn’t end up with more money than I came in with, but I didn’t lose much, and it was totally worth it. I already can’t wait for next year!

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  • Heather

    I hope you had ALL THE FUN.

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  • ksbeth

    good luck and best of all , have a ball !

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  • b.h.quinn

    Horse races! We do not have gambling in Hawaii (well, legally), but we do have horses that I so adore. Maybe next time I am off-island, near a horse race and– okay, this is sounding much more complicated than I’d intended. Perhaps I’ll just plan a vacation around going to a horse race at some point. It sounds like fun. (But there are no funny hats? Or singing? Damn you, My Fair Lady.)

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    • lucysfootball

      There ARE funny hats on Hat Day! There’s a competition for the best hat and everything! And there’s singing when I’m there, because I subscribe to the “everything’s better as a musical” rule and sing things like “This race has a horse with a CAT NAME in it!!!” and Dad rolls his eyes most rollingly.

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