My son and daughter-in-law invited Mommy Farr and me to join them for Mother's Day at the Lone Star Park Horse Races. While that struck some of our friends as odd, it was a perfect fit for us. (When Drew was little we would spend Mother's Day at Six Flags Over Texas because there were NO crowds.) The Lone Star Park track is a five minute drive from our house, but we had never been before.
The day started with a Five Star Mother's Day Lunch Buffet in the Silk Restaurant. They start with eggs, omelets, the usual breakfast /brunch items. As the day progresses along with the nine races, the offerings become more substantial with salmon, pork, prime rib, etc. Toward late afternoon, it's cheese and crackers and desserts, desserts, desserts. When you eat there, you end up spending the whole day there. The restaurant is four stories up and enclosed in glass. Every table has a spectacular view of the whole track. But (despite what it sounds like) the food wasn't really our focus. We were busy being the ignorant, innocent newbies and asking all the predictably dumb questions..."what's the difference between Place and Show?" "What's a Tri-Fecta?"
What no one else knew was that I had a secret going in my favor. True to traditions of track lore and superstitions, I designated Erin's uncle Les, as my Good Luck Charm. To my Contrarian Way of reasoning, his name LES meant we'd win MORE. Besides that, he and I were the only two of the Thirteen Member Farr/Williams Family Entourage that looked like regular horse bettors:
It was fun watching everyone figure out what horse to bet on. Erin had the right idea, she just laughed and had a good time throughout the afternoon, letting Drew place all their bets:
Martha studied the program closely - looking for colors. She really looked like she knew what she was doing....and she even had a "system": If the horse's color was red or the jockey's color was pink, it had her bet:
I tried the "fake-em-out-approach". I pretended I knew what I was doing and studied the stats closely...although if you look REAL CLOSE, you can see the remnants of the chocolate cake by my left hand that was my REAL focus. (I took the E-Z way out and just bet the track's published favorites.)
But of course Baby Ethan had the best attitude..."What's the big deal, guys? Just watch the pretty horsies run in a big circle!"
It was fun watching the horses parade past the crowd, line up and load the starting gate. The bugler did his thing, and there really IS something to be said for watching some events LIVE. TV doesn't catch the whole essence - the noise, the smells, the vibrations as the ground shakes...
We took a break between two of the races (there were 9 total) and decided to go down and watch the action in the paddock where the horses are held and prepped before each race. As we walked towards the area, I became separated from the rest of the family and somehow ended up in the middle of a small group going through the Owner's Only Gate. I looked up later to see the rest of the family waving and trying to discreetly tell me, "You are in the Owner's area...you cannot be there...get out!". But hey, I was walking around with the jockeys, owners, I could pet the horses, and not a single security guard questioned me. I guess I fit the profile of a Rich Horse Breeder - bearded, grey hair, paunchy...whatever. I slowly made my way back out the gate and rejoined the family. (Frankly, the only difference between the two areas that I noticed was that the General Public didn't get horse shit on their shoes. I guess the owners don't mind it.)
So how did we do?
Well, I paid for the $27 per person luncheon for Martha, Drew, Erin, and myself. Then Martha and I placed bets. I tried keeping a running comparison of wagers versus winnings, but I was visiting with others, playing with Ethan, eating, drinking, betting....I sorta lost track. ("I lost track at the track"...there's a pun or country music lyric trying to break through there somewhere...)
All I know is, when we got home, I emptied my pockets and Martha emptied her purse and after we counted everything up, we had $200 more than we started with. Folks who know about this sort of thing have been asking me all day if I'll take them with us next time Martha and I go to the track.