Lava Cat

It was bound to happen: my cat picked a huge winner and I didn’t.

I recognize that the presence of my felines on the left might lend a note of frivolity to my endeavors here; when I first began thinking about the blog, a fellow felinophile friend who has spent many hours at the races with me and my family and who has thus noted our penchant for hunch-betting cat horses, and who also has spent many hours with Madison and Floyd, suggested the “Cat Horse Pick of the Day” feature, and I confess that I fell for it, frivolity be damned.

I also thought it would be sort of cool to follow the trajectory of hunch betting, this in light of the fact that through the Saratoga meet, I’m pretty sure that my mother made more money than the rest of my family, and she hasn’t read a program since we owned harness horses in the 70’s and 80’s (and maybe not even then); she’s strictly a hunch bettor, and it served her well throughout the meet, with horses like My Dear Annie (her name is Ann) and Lady Joanne (her best friend’s name is Joanne—let’s leave the pronunciation disparity out of it).

Thus begat the cat horse feature, which has been mildly interesting but not much more until today. At school tonight preparing for an evening event, I sat on the stage doing a last-minute internet check and dropped by the results page at the NYRA website. Holy moly! Lava Cat at 30 – 1??? Taking into consideration Floyd’s results beginning at Belmont in mid-September, this score puts him up about $30 dollars, not bad for a $2 win bettor.

And you need not ask: no, I do not back up the cats’ picks with actual wagers, worse luck for me.

7 thoughts on “Lava Cat

  1. The cats won and you didn’t. LOL. That’s just like me when I go to the track with people from work. I’m sitting there marking up my program and they always ask what I’m doing. So I end up giving a lesson in “Reading a Racing Chart 101″ and why you would pick this horse over that horse, yadda yadda. They go and bet the horse I recommend, I go to the window and every time change my mind for some stupid stupid reason that I cannot fathom and who wins. . . They do. Yup, that’s story of my life.But you have to bet the hunch bet. As an accountant and mother, I’m always betting variations of my kids’ names and anything to do with taxes or accounting. There was a mare that just went through Fasig, Tax Refund, that I had to bet no matter what. Won some good money, lost some good money. Too bad I didn’t have $500,000 to purchase her! Then there was my favorite hunch bet for my daughter, Where’s Taylor. I loved that horse and my daughter thought it was fun since she was a toddler at the time for the television to be saying (during Keeneland replays) Where’s Taylor.

  2. Madison and Floyd as selectors: Frivolous?? Indeed not! There is a minute possibility that Mike Watchmaker advocates this handicapping methodology on a variety of occasions.

  3. Trip: Two stories. One, Jockey Club Gold Cup ’05. My colleague, HUGE Lord of the Rings fan, comes to the track for the first time, and bets $5 across the board (a hefty first time wager, no? on long-shot Our Brave Hobbit. Several minutes later, off she trots to the window, saying, “This betting stuff is FUN!”Met Mile ’07: Rookie race-goer bets a dollar exacta box on Corinthian, Political Force, and some other horse whose name escapes me. A $140 payoff later, she’s buying us dinner.I think it’s the way the racing gods have fun with newcomers: “See how easy this is? Come on back for more fun!”

  4. Go, Floyd, go…I think the cat picks are great. I read them every racing day.Let us go way, way, way back to the summer of 1979. I was on a second date with a girl named Robin at Monmouth Park. It was her first time at the track.She selected Stalking Robin and bet it across-the-board at 50-1 odds. The horse won going away.Another woman I dated more recently either picked names or played $1 exacta boxes using the self-service machine’s “quick pick” method. I can’t tell you how may $200-plus exacta she nabbed over the years.

  5. My two cents on the hunch bets. . . Traveled up to cover the Belmont Stakes draw breakfast. Arrived late, missed the food and threw down everything but my notebook and pen, frantic to get interviews before everybody cleared out. Joined the huge cluster gathered around Bobby Frankel in time to hear him say about Medaglia d’Oro, “We wanted to win the Derby and the Preakness, but this time we just would like to see him run good.” Hunch bells went off: That was the biggest bunch of bull I’ve ever heard in my life. Wheeled him top and bottom for two bucks and Sarava caught him in the stretch for a $2,454 exacta. — J.S.

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