It all started at Aqueduct, on a Saturday afternoon in January of 2005. It was the day of the Sunshine Millions: a horse named Lava Man was racing at Gulfstream, and an undefeated Florida-bred, California-based sprinter had shipped east to make his third start. Lost in the Fog won that day by four and a half.
My eye, ever alert to a hunch-betting opportunity, was drawn to a horse in the seventh at Aqueduct. In the days when I still spent more time at summer tennis tournaments than summer racing venues, how could I resist betting a horse named Tie Break at 7-1?
He was making his first start off an eight-month layoff; he’d broken his maiden in his second start after a four-month layoff, winning by 11 at Finger Lakes. Why not? I reasoned, though logic probably didn’t have a lot to do with it.
He won that day, establishing two patterns: a series of long layoffs in his career, and a lack of reason in my relationship with him.
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