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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Keeneland Picks All Wet

- I got Pete to help out and do Friday's Keeneland picks, and I'll be back Saturday; in fact, I'm already finished with the column. The deadline was noon today (Thursday), but since I had work, it was effectively whatever time I left for work this morning. For the most part, I've been writing them at night, after work, even managing to get a few posts in here, and there have been some late nights and early mornings spent writing to be sure. This week was tough with the Rangers home for their playoff games, and eventual sweep of their series, on Tuesday and Wednesday night at the Garden, where I've been attending their games as a season ticket holder since the 1978-79 season, and as the son of a season ticket holder for several years before that.

In short, missing either of the games was not an option, and I would have just somehow managed with the columns in any event. I could have written between each period of a quadruple overtime game if necessary. Fortunately, Pete was available to do Friday's card, and I formulated a plan to do Saturday's, and still go to work. There wasn't much time, because the past performances don't come out until Wednesday afternoon.

So I left my client early, and headed home. I'd already suffered a significant setback because the internet went down at the office, and I couldn't get the pp's to do the important preliminary work on the subway home. In that time, I could have identified the contenders, which, for the most part, only takes a couple of minutes for each race, right? I mean, at this point, I think that if I, and likely most anyone reading this blog, had just two minutes in which to identify, say, four contenders in a race, we'd have a decent percentage of those as winners, doncha think? Maybe not on the Keeneland Polytrack, but...

I still had two solid hours at home before I had to go back for the game, and I did my thing, using Formulator (which was suffering from a glitch that was annoying but fortunately not totally debilitating), opened the usual browser tabs on Cal Racing, the Fair Grounds, (no replays for Turfway, thank you very much) and Pedigree Query, and was able to get through all ten races, writing down the kind of notes and facts and figures about trips, possible key, or negative key races, and pedigree facts that I like to refer to in the selections. Then, during the subway ride to the game, I went back over the races, jotted down more notes, and formed opinions on who I liked. By the time I got to the game, I felt as if I had done enough preparation that I could sit down and write the whole thing in not much more than an hour.

I'd brought along the Times, partly in order to have something in which to secure the pp's printout so they didn't get too crumpled. I folded the paper around it and put it on the floor under my seat in Section 405. A little while later, my friend Ira gave me some media notes, and when I went to put those under the seat as well, I noticed that some asshole in back of me had knocked his beer over so that it spilled under my seat. The newspaper was completely soaked, and the pp's, with all of my precious work and notes, was just partially protected. A portion had been sticking out and was exposed, and that part of the pages were completely soaked with beer. It was about one third of each page top to bottom, on the right hand part of the pages. And not only that, it was fucking Bud Light. That's like not only getting stuck in an elevator, but getting stuck in an elevator with an Islander fan (sorry JT).

Ira had some dry ground under his seat, so I gently laid it down and hoped for the best. I suppose I could have recalled a good deal of what I'd jotted down, but I would have ended up double checking a lot of things to be sure, and taking a lot of time to do so. After the game (fortunately, no overtime), I carefully wrapped the soiled pages in the media notes. I cradled the package carefully as I made my way to the trains with the other jubilant fans, most of whom were not carrying past performances for Saturday's Keeneland races that were one third soaked with Bud Light.

I made it home, took out the staples and laid it on a clipboard. It had hardly dried at all, and the Bud Light was starting to smell like puke. But it didn't matter; it had everything I needed to do the column. I did only the first four races at night, because I ended up watching Rangers In 60, a compressed version of the same game I'd just been to (the Head Chef just can't understand that). When I got up at around 6 this morning to finish it, it was still mostly soaked, and it stunk worse than ever. At least it inspired me to not mess around and just get it done, and I was actually able to get back into bed (where I watched a replay of the post-game show). So if I don't do well with Saturday's picks, please know that I had an excuse. You try dipping your Racing Form into a pool of Bud Light and see how well you do!

1 Comment:

jeff said...

I guess you have room for only one king in your life -- King Henrik -- and not the King of Beers!