Monday, June 1, 2015

Fairmont Park Racetrack

Whatever I know about horse racing I learned mainly by reading the novels of Dick Francis.  For those of you who do not know this author, Francis was a steeplechase jockey and crime writer who wrote novels on horse racing.  Unfortunately we did not encounter the intrigue and suspense usually found in his novels when we visited Fairmount Park, but still we had a great evening.
The park is located in Collinsville, Illinois and has been a tradition in this metro area since 1925.  It features a one mile oval dirt track.  The seven races we saw Saturday evening were mainly less than a mile, and over rather quickly.   The sport of horse racing is certainly an unknown for John and I, so we were quite fortunate to be in town when a group from our church decided to charter a bus for the trip to Fairmount Park.  The package deal for our group gave us a buffet supper as well as admission to the park ( admittance cost is low, $2.50 on weekends).  It was a rainy evening, and we had good seats right in our eating area, which was the Black Stallion Room.  There was no need for us to be outside, unless we wanted to be where the action was.  I ventured out occasionally, between raindrops.
John and I do not, as a rule, gamble.  As you may remember from my posting on Las Vegas, we did not drop one coin in that city as we wandered around the casinos.  However, on Saturday evening it just seemed that to enjoy the evening it was necessary to drop a few bucks.  A friend of mine looked at the race listings for the evening and thought maybe the approach should be to pick the horse who has the most winning stats for racing in "wet dirt".  After awhile, and loosing a few bucks, we decided that approach was not working.  Then John's interest was suddenly turned on, and he pointed out other nuances of horse betting, that perhaps it was not good to bet that a horse would just win, but that our odds would improve if we wagered that a horse would at least "place" (finish first or second) or "show" (finish first, second, or third).  John also pointed out to me that I should check out the stat of the jockeys, if they win in one race, they may win in subsequent races.  Then, suddenly in race 5, someone in our group pointed out that the horse Indanameofdafather had a religious connotation and perhaps that would be a good choice to bet on.  John and I won a few bucks in that race, as Indanameofthefather placed second.  Below John is showing off his winning ticket.
By the seventh race I realized that in the racing program, at the end of the listing of horses and riders for each race there are "mutuel ratings" which I should have been paying attention to.  Those ratings give a best guess on how the different horses would place.  So for race seven John and I paid close attention to those stats and wagered accordingly.  We bombed in our bets on that race, none of our picks even came close to winning!  Well, we had a fun evening and maybe next time we would be a bit more knowledgeable about the betting process.  And, as with any gambling, there is no sure-fire path to winning!

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