Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've got a tip for you!

When I was a kid my Mom and Dad, my Aunt and Uncle, my three cousins, and I would go to Arlington Park horse race track in Illinois for a Saturday of fun.  We went a couple of times each summer for many years.

My Dad would always give me a few dollars and let me choose some horses to bet on.  As a kid I was not a handicapper (obviously!) and would pick horses by their names.  I loved anything that had to do with food, dancing, colors etc.  My Dad would put $2 to Show (the horse could come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and you’d win something) and I’d cheer my heart out for “my” horse!  I did occasionally win a few dollars and my Dad let me keep it.  At the time I thought I was RICH!

My Mom and Dad as well as my Aunt and Uncle were not handicappers either.  They were there for fun but tried to pretend they knew how to bet on the “best” horse(s) for each race.  They would even try some fancy schmancy (called “exotic” at the race track) bets like a Trifecta, a Pick 6, or a Box.  No one went home a millionaire but we had a lot of fun.

On one trip we were reading the sheets and trying to pick some horses by name, by number, or by color.  You know, scientifically.  My Dad spotted a horse named Pot Roast Billy.  Everyone, including us kids, thought this was a great name and we all wanted to bet on this horse.  The adults placed the bets and we anxiously awaited the start of the race.

The gates opened and the horses started their run!  Go Pot Roast Billy!  Go!!!

Pot Roast Billy wasn’t in the mood to race that day.  He basically walked out of the gate and strolled along the race course like he was taking in the sites.  What's that over there?  A flower?  Some grass?  He finished dead last, several minutes behind the rest of the field.  I can still hear the announcer to this day, "And bringing up the rear (loooong pause) we have Pot Roast Billy."

We suddenly realized that Pot Roast was probably not a good name for an animal that could actually become a pot roast in certain countries.  Bad betting idea.

To this day, if anyone asks me for any sort of tip about anything (from my favorite running shoes to my favorite brand of cereal) I always say, “I’ve got a tip for you.  Don’t bet on Pot Roast Billy.”  No one gets it but it makes me laugh!

While our favorite horse that day disappointed us, he may have gone on the greatness (or gone on to become a pot roast).

But if anyone asks you:  DON’T. Bet. On. Pot. Roast. Billy.

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