Gambling, shmambling; I only buy lottery tickets every blue moon and play the odds by betting I won't get shot on my murder-prone block. Then the Post spat an 80-point headline: "Dope Fix is in at Track."[New York Press]
"Seventeen people were busted yesterday on charges of operating a mob-connected ring that doped horses at Aqueduct and Belmont," a January 14 article read.
Intrigue! Drugs! The mob! Now this was reason to gamble.
Thus the author of this piece in the New York Press, a NYC alternative weekly, takes off to Aqueduct on the A train (which will be making less frequent stops at the Big A in the next several months), where he bets $2 on a race, wins (of course), drinks a $5 Bud and hangs with the regulars in the Paddock Bar. Thus, the milkshake scandal has now officially generated an additional $2 in betting handle, as well as various other economic benefits (I'm assuming he gave the bartender a tip.) And I doubt, really, that a single dollar of handle has been lost since the story broke.
I used to work in the music industry, and when stung by a bad review of one of our releases, I would sometimes be consoled by being told that "no publicity is bad publicity." This has not always been the case in the world of horse racing. The superfecta scandal that rocked the NY harness industry in the 70s was the first blow in the sport's eventual demise here. But this is 2005. We anxiously await the next season of the lovable Sopranos and follow the thrilling saga of any Gottis not currently behind bars. Contestants scheme to betray one another on any number of reality shows. Poker mania is sweeping the nation, and what is poker if not a game of deceipt perpetrated by shady characters that may not make it past the velvet ropes at Scores?
Well, unfortunately, the industry is attempting to crack down on milkshakes now, but I'm sure someone will come up with something else. A reality show following two trainers befriending mobsters and competing to come up with a new surefire way to dope horses and fix races would be a huge hit, I'm sure.