Monday, May 4, 2009

One way to cure road rage; in Calvin we trust...maybe not this time

If you read the last post, you know how bad Houston traffic is when it rains. When it doesn't rain, drivers are just as bad.

So there was a road rage incident on the way to Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, but it had a happy ending.

Sort of.

Saturday was a long day -- early seminar at Gulf Greyhound, followed by a long drive north to be at Sam Houston. It was roughly 2 p.m. on 290, not too far from SHRP, when a red Ford truck (you never see THOSE in Texas) swung over in front of me, almost putting me in the concrete wall.

Once I recovered, the road rage inspired anger began to rise. The ears turned red. The low growl came up in the throat.

But since it was Derby Day, a religious holiday, we let it go.

Until he almost hit the car again, this time swinging over a full lane without looking. He sped up, heading for the exit toward Sam Houston.

This time, the anger took over, and the Honda was roused into action. As we drew alongside and I was about to drop an F-bomb, I saw why the guy was struggling with his driving.

He had the Racing Form spread out across his steering wheel. He was handicapping while driving on the way to the track.

Instantly, the rage was gone.

Whoever you are, red truck dude, you are my kind of guy. Yes, you were irresponsible. Yes, you almost killed me.

But it was a good cause. I mean, who can really hate a true degenerate like that?

Hope you had the winner, pal.


Props to three people who had the winner of the Derby:

1) My mom, who loves jockey Calvin Borel. She talked about the horse all week. Thank God she didn't listen to her idiot son.

2) Virtual Val, who liked the horse for some other inexplicable handicapping theory that I refuse to listen to until Preakness week since I am still steaming. But my guess is Val is Canadian. The horse was 2-year-old Canadian champ. Good things rarely come out of Canada, but this time, one plus one equals 50-1.

(Don't get mad, Canadians. Until you do something about Celine Dion...sorry, that's our image of you).

3) Scotty the Genius. Not sure if it was Scotty or me who coined the phrase "In Calvin We Trust." I will take credit for it. Scotty will have to settle for being greatest handicapper in the history of the known universe.

Calvin Borel has been on almost every long shot winner I've ever had. He has been one of my favorite riders for almost 20 years now. Delta Downs. Fair Grounds. Sam Houston. Oaklawn. Churchill. The defunct Ellis Park. Louisiana Downs. Turfway. Calvin has won huge races for me at all of those tracks. He even won a big race for me once at Jefferson Downs.*

(If you don't know Jefferson Downs, you are either under the age of 30 or not a true horse racing degenerate).

Regardless, we've been saying "In Calvin we Trust" for years.

When he got away at 50-1 -- the second longest shot in Derby history -- I didn't. Growl. Snarl. Grumble.

It was an incredible ride, typical Calvin rail-skimming brilliance. He was also aboard Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, who won by about six miles, so it was a big weekend for the young man.

In the last three Derbies, Calvin has a first on Mine That Bird, a third on long shot Denis of Cork, and a win on Street Sense. That record stacks up with anybody. (Yeah, I had Street Sense. Hoo boy. He wasn't 50-1).

From now on, we blindly trust no matter what.

Congrats to everybody who won. You guys are much smarter than me.

Except for one guy.

Sam Houston track announcer Michael Chamberlain is the most underrated announcer in the country. Other than an affinity for Jerry Baily, bad handicapping and weird yellow corduroy pants, he is a good guy.

At our seminar, he didn't even mention the winner. Then he spent five minutes saying how much he hated Pioneer of the Nile, who finished second.

Walking out, he showed me an 8-16 exacta ticket he had bet.

Because that is his birthday.

Buy some new pants with it, pal.

So I have learned my lesson if I want to be successful...In the Preakness, I am betting a 12-18. Even if there are only three horses. And betting Calvin.

And I plan to handicap the race while driving. Maybe then I will get it right.


Anonymous said...

i still would have killed the driver. learn to steer and handicap damnit

Valerie said...

I have explained to you three times why I was touting that horse since the Sunland Derby. I can't help it that you refuse to listen to me. Plus, I remember Borel coming in on a bomb back in April and hearing the whining about how he should always be bet riding a longshot...see, I listen to YOU.

Oh, and we keep trying to send Celine to the States. You guys keep sending her back.

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