After getting absolutely soaked at Fisherman’s Wharf on Saturday, Z and I found a Motel 6 in Oakland that was only $70 with a friendly staff and a great room. They pointed us to a breakfast spot called Nikko’s that seriously rocked as well. Then it was off to the races…
A couple of weeks back I took Z to the racetrack for her very first time. While we were there we learned that on Super Bowl Sunday they would be having 8 drawings for a 42″ Plasma TV. Figuring the track would be slow and our odds would never be better we made plans to visit again. On our first visit I took $150 to bet with and came home with a whopping $11. Not exactly a winning day, but we did have a lot of fun. This time we did a bit better, starting with the same amount I cashed out at a solid $75 and no TV. Sure I still lost, but we had another wonderful day, so I just chalked my “losses” up as a combination of entertainment costs and learning experience.
The primary difference this time was I tempered my bets a little better. First thing we did was place a $2 Show bet on whatever horse Russel Baze was riding throughout the day. Baze recently crossed the 10,000 win mark and is the winningest jockey in horse racing history. Although he did manage to finish out of the money on one race we consistently won $0.20 to $0.80 on these bets (he’s almost always the favorite).
I also invested a little more wisely in some Exacta bets. An Exacta means picking the winner in two subsequent races. By placing $2-$5 Exacta bets on races with a solid favorite in the first race and a small field (6 or 7) in the second race I was able to “hedge” my bets by wagering on the favorite and every horse in the following race. These bets would cost me $14-$35 each, but when they won (which they did) I’d get back $40-$75. Not bad at all.
I still managed to “throw away” about $20 on longshots and horses with fun or clever names – Six Cents Of Humor was my favorite of the day. Not to mention Z convinced me to make a $5 bet on a longshot at another track (watched via television) and the jockey actually managed to fall off his horse within seconds of getting out of the starting gate. It was also the last day of the Winter season at Golden Gate Fields, so the Pick 6 rollover was guaranteed to pay out even if no one picked the winner of all six races (they drop down to 5 wins, etc until they get a winner). With nearly $10,000 in the Pick 6 Pool it seemed worthy of $10 of our budget. Of course, we had no idea what we were doing so managed to lose ’em all, but the sense of excitement as our first couple of picks came in was well worth it.
The weather actually pretty much cooperated with only a few brief showers. But the wind got crazy for about 15 minutes and I managed to snap these pics of the wind attacking the fountains, flags and palm trees-