Taking A Bite Of Big Apple Sports
Friday - July 29, 2009
Sports fans everywhere may be more alike than they are different in terms of passion, but in New York fans tend toward the bombastic. They are largely loud, opinionated and absolutely certain even about subjects on which they are dead wrong.
The easiest conversation starter in a New York bar is any disparaging comment about the Mets, and judging from several chats with fans ranging from the casual to the obsessed, Jets QB Mark Sanchez will be living in the largest fishbowl in America. Eli Manning has finally been accepted, even Yankee hardcores have mixed feelings about ARod, and not a single soul I’ve spoken to believes that LeBron will end up as a Knick.
Surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of complaints to be heard about ticket prices at Citifield or Yankee Stadium. New Yorkers seem to accept price gouging as a corollary of greed, which is regarded as a nearly universal trait.
It took me about a week to get a New York edge on, which would be a survival tool if one were to live here.
No visit to the Big Apple would be complete without a trip to the racetrack, and because the Belmont meet is in session, I went twice. First time was with my wife and kids; they love to watch the horses parade in the paddock, and the boys enjoyed the beautiful park while Dad pored over the Daily Racing Form in an effort to handicap the races.
My system is fairly simple. I look for the speed in the field and try to gauge whether two or more horses will push the pace, then either pick one of them to wire the field or find a horse that has shown it can close.
The first day, I bet $20 on a 7-2 shot in the second race, and when he caught the field at the top of the stretch and breezed home, I played the rest of the day with house money, and finished the day ahead about $10, which is my idea of a fun day at the races.
The second trip I made with a buddy on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We got there early, and started to handicap a half hour before the first post. We both got shut out in the first race, but again the second race proved to be lucky. It was a six-furlong race on turf for 2-year-old maidens (meaning horses who haven’t won a race). Five of the eight horses had one lifetime race; the other three were racing for the first time. You have very little to go on except the fractions from a handful of workouts.
My pal Ed Richman couldn’t decide between the No. 1 horse Cookram Rock and the No. 3 Camptown Blues. I loved the No. 1 and bet $20 to win. Ed’s indecision led him to bet a 1-3 exacta box. The race finished 1-3-7. He hit the $87 exacta and I had a winning $95 ticket.
You never saw two happier idiots anywhere. We didn’t win another race, but finished a couple of bucks ahead.
Another beautiful day at Belmont Park.
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