Hello, folks. Welcome back to Bad Beats, the column you visit for betting advice and sad tales of gambling woe. Read past Bad Beats here. Got any stories for us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Bad Beats.
Seems like this'll be the Animal Kingdom-Shackleford Stakes. They are the Steelers and Cowboys of this year's Belmont field, the familiar winners from a month or so ago whom the betting public will invariably overrate. They'll lose. Or they'll win with disappointing odds. But think: There are 10 other horses for you to bet (and lose money) on!
Like the 30-1 Isn't He Perfect, described here by Chris Smith of New York:
If you're looking for a sentimental long-shot bet in the third leg of the Triple Crown, Isn't He Perfect is your horse. Not so much for the colt's recent performances - he finished a dismal ninth in the Preakness - but for his eccentric and endearing trainer. Doodnauth Shivmangal began a Belmont press conference diatribe this week by saying, "There was all this written about me being suspended. I was never suspended! Well, I was only suspended for 30 days."
It's like betting on your alcoholic uncle! It'll probably be cheaper, too.
Or the 10-1 Master of Hounds, as written up in Thursday's New York Post:
It would not be the Belmont Stakes without a fly in the ointment to confuse horseplayers searching for the winner. The snag in this Saturday's Belmont is easily identified: Master of Hounds, the Irish shipper.
What to make of him? Nobody can be sure what to expect of this colt who dropped out of the skies Tuesday from Ireland and will go up against 11 of the best surviving 3-year-olds in America. On dirt.
He could be the surprise of the day or the dud of the season.
On second thought, a mercurial Irish horse that pops up out of the blue? What sounds more like alcoholic uncle than that?
Or, I suppose, you could bet on the poorly dubbed 15-1 Prime Cut, whose name seems to imply that he's headed to the nearest upscale butcher if he doesn't win. But he might:
Owned by Donald A. Adam, he has yet to capture a stakes, although he is coming off two fine efforts in graded events.
Howard, though, knows his way around the big events, having won races like the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Preakness, Hopeful, Kentucky Oaks, and Alabama during his career.
Not until last weekend did he decide on the third leg of the Triple Crown, despite the good effort Prime Cut turned in to be third in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 14 at Belmont Park.
Even better, Prime Cut's jockey is Edgar Prado, who's won two Belmonts in the last decade. That's something.
So, there you go, there's your Trifecta. Prime Cut to win, Master of Hounds to place, Isn't He Perfect to show. Get some Maker's Mark, your kid's 529 fund, and have at it.
Bad Beats: Readers Share Their Tales Of Woe
Ponies edition, from Donnie_Iris:
About 15 years ago I attended a bachelor party at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia. The plan was to spend the evening wagering on the ponies and then visit a strip club near the track. I was a recent college graduate and was doing an unpaid internship. Even though I was broke, the lure of a drunken night gambling in West Virginia (complete with strippers!) seemed too seedy to pass up.
I had never been to the horse races before and had absolutely no knowledge of how to place bets or pick horses. This did not stop me from doing so, but it did prevent me from winning anything. By the 6th or 7th race of the night, I had already visited the ATM twice to withdraw money that I couldn't afford to lose and was once again down to my last $10 bill. Using typical bad gambler logic, I attempted a sucker's bet to win it all back at once.
I took a walk over to this area where they paraded the horses that were making their way out to the track. I thought maybe seeing the horses up close would give me some kind of edge at picking out a long shot. I studied the race form and the name of a 50-1 horse jumped off the sheet at me. Of course, now I can't remember what the name was. I recall it being something with the word "candy" in it and it was also a song title. Maybe "I Want Candy" or "Candy Everybody Wants". In retrospect, betting on a Bow Wow Wow or 10,000 Maniacs title probably shouldn't have swayed my decision, but regardless I wanted to see what this horse looked like. I stood next to this parade area and out trotted my long shot. As it went past me, I swear to God the fucking horse stopped and looked me right in the eye. That was the sign I was looking for! This was my horse.
I decided to place two bets. Seven bucks for this beast to win and a $3 trifecta with this horse leading the way followed by the two race favorites. We decided to make this the last race of the night before we retreated to the nudie bar, so we made our way track side to stand along the railing near the front stretch. It had rained off and on most of the night, so the track was pretty sloppy. I was excited because the only time this horse had ever placed was on a muddy track. My long shot was a mudder!
Race starts and it's a pretty slow pace. You can tell that the horses were struggling with the mud. Since we were standing track side, it made it difficult to tell the horses apart on the back stretch. We relied on the race announcer to keep us posted and at no time did I hear him say the word "candy". As the horses rounded the last turn, my eyes popped out of me head as three of them broke away from the pack including my long shot. As they raced toward the finish line, Candy pulled to the outside and started to take the lead. This stupid 90s pop-hit-of-a-horse was about to win me a couple hundred bucks. I started screaming. As they got closer, I saw the two horses trailing my long shot were the horses I needed to place and show in order to hit my trifecta. Holy fucking shit... I was about to be rich (or as least as rich as a $3 trifecta can make a guy). I went insane, jumping up and down and clutching my ticket as the horses came near.
I swear to God, I thought I saw that fucking horse look over at me again. As he did, his front leg slipped in the mud and buckled underneath him. I thought I heard something crack. Ten feet from the finish line my long shot lay in a pile, the jockey thrown off its back. I stood in total shock as the rest of the herd thundered past him, rendering my ticket worthless.
As the horse lay there, they pulled out a big white screen to shield him from the spectators and euthanized him right on the track. I think I yelled something like, "Killing's too good for you, you fucking loser!". Affirmed.
The worst part was yet to come. I had to go to a West Virginia strip club penniless and sober.
Stupid Prop Bet of the Week
Courtesy of Paddy Power: Who will play Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye movie?
Max Records 5/1
Chandler Canterbury 8/1
Jimmy Bennett 10/1
Justin Bieber 12/1
Moisés Arias 14/1
Thomas Sangster 16/1
Nick Jonas 20/1
Michael Cera 20/1
Anton Yelchin 25/1
Josh Hutcherson 25/1
Zac Efron 25/1
Jaden Smith 33/1
Connor Cruise 33/1
Angus T. Jones 33/1
Noah Gray-Cabey 33/1
Daniel Radcliffe 40/1
Taylor Lautner 40/1
David Kross 50/1
We don't even know who most of these people are, and no one knows if the movie will be made anyway. But, what the hell, those Scientologists run everything. Put a G each on Connor Cruise and Jaden Smith. Did Salinger ever say that Holden was white? Maybe we should ask Kornheiser.