Move Yer Bloomin' Arse...

For Dad's birthday, we decided to spend the day out at the Arlington Race Track, for a little light gambling and quality time with Dad's friends Joe and Ann. Although it wasn't nearly as glamorous as the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady (and truly, what in life would not benefit from towering displays of millinery excess?), we did secure some excellent box seats from one of Dad's associates, and with the cooperation of the weather, a pleasant day was had by all.

We had great seats, under the cantilevered overhang and in front of the finish line.

Dad is big on traditions, and as such, we picked up four discrete sources for tips on the day's horses: the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the daily racetrack program, and the Green Sheet also available at the track. Dad, as always, carefully culled his betting selections from all four sources, much as he consults his files of newspaper and magazine clippings for his annual newsletter of stock market picks. There must have been something to his strategy, because he hit big in the fifth race, accurately predicting the trifecta (a so-called "exotic bet" which guesses which horses will come in first, second, and third), to the tune of $326! Clearly, five was his lucky number for the day, considering he made his best bet of the day in the fifth race, on his 55th birthday. It was the highlight of the afternoon.

Dad and Joe, intently focused on picking their bets.

Although neither of us had any particular strategy -- Mom chose her horses based on which names she liked, and I chose mine based largely on moderate odds -- we also performed respectably. Mom won a little bit of money in almost every race, but ultimately less than she spent on bets, and ended up sustaining a small loss for the day. I managed to hit an exacta (another "exotic bet" that predicts which horses will come in first and second) to win $29, but my other bets for the day were less successful, and I left the track with an extra $8 in my pocket overall. Of course, in a display of his customary generosity, Dad was kind enough to share part of his haul with me, so it turned into quite the profitable day for me -- moreso than an average day at the office!

Dad, Mom, and I in our box at the track.

It was also nice to spend some time with Joe and Ann, who I hadn't seen in quite some time. I think most of you know Joe as the original "Joe the Plumber" -- Dad likes to give many of his friends nicknames incorporating their profession, and I can't think of a time in our more than a decade of acquaintance that we haven't known him by that epithet. He is so gregarious and mischievious that you can't help but enjoy yourself in his presence, and Ann provides just the right amount of balance in her calm and sweet demeanor. Dad is lucky to have them as friends.

All in all, Dad proclaimed it to be a "great day," which, on his birthday, is really the best we could have asked for. Here's hoping that his great day leads to a great 55th year!

1 comment:

  1. Good pic of the 3 of you! I really like the picture of your dad. The concentration coming off the pic is intense! Glad you had a good day!!