Opening Day At The Spa

July 20, 2014 09:24am


First of all, getting to Saratoga for opening day was a nightmare. Road construction, slow moving semi’s, and some crazy girl who kept crossing a double yellow line because she was texting while driving, they all got in my way to The Spa.  We got there after an unheard of two hours ride. It normally takes an hour and a half, but not this day, not on opening day.


Along with 25,000 other folks in attendance, I got myself settled and I was moving. At post time for the first race, I had my bases covered. I had 3 horses picked for the win and three daily double bets going. I had it all covered, except for the winner of course. Winter Games, the 14-1 long shot came in at 1:51.25 for the mile and an eighth race that opened the season off.


Being on my new artificial knee for really the first time out any where that wasn’t the supermarket, I was careful and walked with a purpose to the window for the second race. I did my homework before we left. I knew what I was going to do, but both of my horses were scratched.  Digging for answers, I found none.


An 8-1 horse known as By the Moon crossed the line first in the second and he left me standing there with my wife screaming that she won. The way she was acting it was as if we could now afford a dinner at a nice restaurant. BUUTT NOOOO! Dawn had placed a one dollar show bet on the winner that paid 2.65. I was embarrassed at her reaction, but I wasn’t surprised because that’s how she is-nuts.  


With the knee swollen, but pain free, I hit the third race looking at my money situation. I was already down by a few, OK, it was more than a few. I was bleeding at an alarming rate in the wallet and I couldn’t get my hands on a tourniquet. I looked like a horse with my ever growing long face.


I did OK in the third race, the Grade Three, 150,000 Schuylerville Stakes. Going off as the favorite, Fashion Alert, the Todd Pletcher trained horse hit the board, I had my first winner of the day and I hit the 452 trifecta as well. I thought my lucked had changed, but my payday in the Schuylerville barely covered a cocktail and a bowl of mac and cheese from the truck. Yes, I was greedy and wanted a bigger payday.

Street Blush ruined the fourth race for me. Another long shot that Saratoga is famous for came in at 1:11.6 for the six furlongs. He paid $25.80 for the win and that would have been nice to have my five dollars on him, but per the norm I had my money elsewhere, like seventh place.


I hit the fifth race with Can’thelpbelieving and had the exacta as well with My Afleet coming in second. Johnny Velazquez brought home the winner for me for a half way decent payout. I was still down, but my luck was changing-I knew it. Raced on the inner turf course, the mile and 3/8 went at a time of 2:16.14.


The sixth and the seventh went by the wayside without any winners. Since my new knee was getting sore, I thought it best to miss the next three races. Checking the sheet this morning, I found out that I would have lost them as well.


And that was my day at the Spa. Oh Saratoga, great to see you, but I ended up down for the day. The good thing about Saratoga is that you can have a great time while losing your hard earned money. Good times with my wife, win some lose some, all in all it was a great day. No-it was opening day. See you at the Jim Dandy this coming Saturday-Riders Up.


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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.  


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