One day I was heading to Santa Anita fromSan Diego, back before they had simulcast wagering. As I passed throughOceansideI saw a sign exit for Mission San Luis Rey. I thought “funny” that is the feature race today, but that race isn’t a betting race because Charlie Whittingham has an entry that is going to be 1-9.
He had the two best turf marathoners in the country and they were an entry in this race. One was Alphabetum and the other was Dahar. They both had incredible form and the only question about the race was witch one was going to win. There were six or seven other runners that would fill out the field, but unquestionable none of them had a chance, in fact all but one of them had been finishing far behind the two Whittingham’s in many of there previous starts.
After the seventh race ended I decided to leave a bit early and beat the traffic leaving the track. At that time there was at least forty thousand on track every Saturday and Sunday and the traffic would get real tough leaving The Great Race Place. As I headed toward the gates, I glanced up at the board and noticed there was, as expected, a 1-9 shot on the board. However, it wasn’t the one entry. It was the number three horse and his name was Symboli Rudolph. The entry was on the board at 7-1. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I thought I better go to the paddock and figure out what all the fuss was. On the way, I glanced through my form and had overlooked this “Japanese Wonder Horse” that had an amazing record of something like 23 wins in 25 starts. He had nearly a million in earnings, very good back in 1984, and it seemed the entire country of Japan, including at least 200 or so that were in the paddock, were there to see him win and wager on him.
As the horses walked around the ring, one thing was for sure, if it was a beauty contest, it was already over. The two Whittingham runners were big and strong and were super healthy looking. Symboli Rudolph looked like a washed out $10,000 claimer. The people in the walking ring didn’t care. This horse was there hero and they were going to cash a ticket on him no matter what the price was. He was very nervous and he had kidney sweat dripping down his hind legs. He must have weighed three to four hundred pounds less than each of the Whittingham runners. One gentleman standing next to me said, “This is a rebate given to the American People for all of the cars we have purchased fromJapan. We had better take advantage of it.”
By the time they loaded, the odds went down to somewhere near 2-1 on the entry. As they passed the stands for the first time, Symboli had not taken the first turn very well and he was far back early. As they turned for home Alphabetum and Dahar were fifteen lengths in front of the field and to this day I can’t remember which one of them actually won the race. Mission San Luis Rey, indeed!!!!
The point to the story is to keep an open mind when you are playing. You never know what is going to happen next in this game. Be aware a horse may load with a Superman type cape on. Or that a man will jump out on the track and try to punch the horse on the lead in the head (And maybe even carry his luggage with him). A horse may pay $15.60 to win, $7.00 to place and $160.00 to show. A first timer in theU.S.may win a Breeders cup race with the worlds best rider in the Irons and pay 99-1. The races may be taken off the main track for a day and all races will be run on the grass. And you may one day be an “only” in the Pick Six when there was a big carryover. ………….After all, how well we do is based on how well we think mixed in with a little bit of luck. If we continue to keep an open mind, than anything is possible.