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What If and What Happened

Looking for a story, I called upon my old buddy, the Tout Master General, Beetle Bailey for his take on this year’s Breeders' Cup races.

 

Me: First of all Beetle, I want to thank you for taking my call.

 

Beetle: I answered because you owe me money.

 

Me: Let’s not get into that now. Let me ask you a question. What’s your take on the Breeders' Cup?

 

Beetle: That’s it? That’s the question you called to ask me. You didn’t go to school for this, did you? I mean it’s a little vague isn’t it.

 

Me: OK, you got me. Coming up with intelligent questions is somehow hard for me. I wonder why? OK Beet, Let me tell you my dream and I want your impressions, all right.

 

Beetle: Impressions? I do a good Cagney, you know.

 

Me:  Quiet-I’ve been having this dream over and over again. It’s Princess of Sylmar being saddled by Todd Pletcher for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

 

Beetle: THE CLASSIC?

 

Me: Hey, it’s my dream now let me finish. I’d love to see my girl go up against the boys. The pace would start fast, and the Princess would fall into a comfy pocket of fourth place as they tool up the backstretch. Will take Charge and Palace Malice are neck and neck, back and forth. With Cross Traffic third, the Princess is starting to look uncomfortable just sitting there as they hit the turn. The question is can she handle the distance.

 

Some, like me would say it’s no big deal for the female superstar; it’s only an eighth of a mile longer. Careers have been lost in an eighth of a mile. I believe that careers can be solidified in that eighth of a mile, as well. (Sister Marie Amy would just love my use of fractions, by the way.)  I can see her red coat, bouncing out of fourth and starting to climb as she takes the last turn at Santa Anita. Past Cross Traffic and ahead of Flat Out by three, she’s now stalking Palace Malice and Will Take Charge. She passes Palace Malice with a furlong left and with a timely head bob and she nips Will Take Charge at the wire in two minutes and change. Now that dream right there, should give us something to talk about.

 

Beetle: First of all, you do know she is running in the Distaff. Right?

 

Me: Sure, I know that, but tell me how she would do against the big boys.

 

Beetle: She would finish in the money, but can she beat them? I don’t know. You and I saw her in the Alabama and she looked strong but that extra eighth of a mile is the key to her running with the boys. Your description is wordy at best and you are right about where she would run the beginning of the race. Not because you are a genius, but she always starts off in a ‘tight little pocket in fourth’.

 

Me: I really don’t need your sarcastic tone. 

 

Beetle: I bet you are used to it by now.

 

Me: Maybe.

 

Beetle: She would go off at 3-1/5-1 against the boys I reckon, and that’s a good price for a champ like her. I’m not sure if she can handle the distance. But it’s my upset special. Bank on it. I’m just like everyone else, I loved to see it.

 

Me: I really want to thank you for give me those splendid, 'bank on it tips' you gave me. I did what you said; I bet the farm on Strong Mandate and Wise Dan. Losing my shirt, I’m doomed to go to work wearing nothing but my man bra. Thanks Beetle.

 

Beetle: First of all, Wise Dan ran in soggy Polytrack at Keeneland and races a 16th longer. It would have been a closer race if they just ran a mile.

 

Me: HE STILL WOULD HAVE LOST!

 

Beetle: Well if you’re going to be that way about it.

 

Me: What about Strong Mandate?

 

Beetle: He’s two years old. Did you win every race at two?

 

Me: Well, of course not, but I at least finished in the money. He didn’t even do that.

 

Beetle: I had Havana.

 

Me: You What?

 

Beetle: I changed my mind and liked the way he looked on the way out.

 

Me: Well, I never met a tipster who doesn’t follow his own advice.

 

Beetle: Shut-up and pay me the money you owe.

 

Me: Hello? I can’t hear you.

 

Beetle: Pay Me My Money-You…. (CLICK)

 

Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who wants to assure you that Beetle is a real guy who buys lunch at Saratoga then expects to get paid back for it. Thank God for the macaroni and cheese truck. 

 

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Meet Johnnie Carrier

 

With 10 years of writing a humor column for his home town paper under his belt, Johnnie Carrier has decided to try something different. He is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College Class of 1977 and traveled the West with Circus Vargas in 1979.

 In the 80’s, Carrier lived in New York City and Boston, but he settled down however in the smallest city in Massachusetts late in the decade and married Dawn Luskin in ’88. David was born in 1991 and has been blessed with his father’s sense of humor, but luckily his mother’s good looks.

 Racing has been more than a casual interest having lived so close to Saratoga. He started going to the track at a very young age with his parents and has tried to instill that passion into his son by taking him at the same age. In 2003, Carrier started to write as a freelance writer with the North Adams Transcript and can be followed there at the paper’s website.