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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Horse races
I have a list of things to do before I die. My mother-in-law, Marilyn, sweetly arranged for one of them last summer. We all went to the Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico to see horse races. She even arranged to get us into the Jockey Club, which is a posh way of seeing the exact same races. Catered food, no lines to place a bet, lots of close-up cameras on the horses, and a lovely atmosphere. The women's restroom was posh beyond belief--at least, it was for a commoner like me.

My youngest son, Kevin, is eighteen. He started out very blase, and wondering what all the fuss was about. I guess when your spare time is absorbed by video games, mere horses seem pretty tame. By the end of the third race, was bouncing off the chairs, waving his betting ticket like the rest of us. It was a whale of a lot of fun. (Once, we went to a stock car race, as it was also on my life list. It was interesting to have done, but nothing compared to the horse race.)

Marilyn's friend Pat, who had gotten us into the Jockey Club, told us a story about her daughter who had worked at the race downs one summer, doing cleanup. She gathered up all the losing tickets that people left scattered everywhere, and had them run through the betting machine, just to see if anyone had accidentally discarded a winning ticket. She was stunned to find out that it happened all the time. She made several hundred dollars that summer just from tickets that had been thrown away. Pat explained that many people who go to the races do a lot of drinking. They either don't read the results right, or enthuse about winning and get another drink, forgetting to actually claim the prize. It was amazing, and perfectly legal.

I think, all told, I bet about $10, and lost $6. That's the same as the cost of a movie ticket, and a lot more exciting than most movies I've attended.
posted by Jeanette Cottrell @ 7:55 AM  
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Name: Jeanette Cottrell
About Me: Dragon Moon Press offers superb science fiction and fantasy titles. Now YOU can download the first chapters of these fine books for FREE. If this feature proves popular, we hope to expand our offerings.
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