Andrea's column: Crying over spilled milkThe first time I went to a horse race, my then-husband and I lived in New Jersey. When my brother and his girlfriend visited, we went to Yonkers to watch harness racing.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
If only someone had told me the names of the horses entered in last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, I would have forgotten the vow I made to never gamble again and, for sure, would have put money on I’ll Have Another to win. Instead, I am kicking myself over the windfall I missed out on.
The first time I went to a horse race, my then-husband and I lived in New Jersey. When my brother and his girlfriend visited, we went to Yonkers to watch harness racing. Standing along the fence, I studied a racing paper before placing a bet. My future sister-in-law went with her “feeling” and won every time. I left empty-handed.
By the time Canterbury Downs was built in 1985, my family had been back in Minnesota nearly 10 years. Not long after it opened, my husband and I took our children to Shakopee to celebrate our daughter’s recent high school graduation.
I had reserved a table in the fancy restaurant on the second floor. There was a dress code so we wore our finery and used valet parking. We ate at a table covered with white linens — far from the dirt of the track but high enough to see everything.
It was my first visit to a racetrack since we lived out East. I decided to base my selections solely on the horse’s name. I had no luck that day or any other time we returned to Canterbury. No matter what I wore, where we sat, ate, or parked our car, I never picked a winner. Nor a second or third place finisher.
I would like to tell you my bad gambles were reserved for horses. I would be lying. When my sister’s husband visited from Florida, my brother arranged a get-together at the dog track in Hudson. We would meet our brother-in-law and his parents for dinner and some wagers. I used my “feelings” about names again but the only winning choice I made that night was from the menu.
Slot machines were not my friends, either. A fact I tried to rectify on many occasions. My final visit to a casino was almost two decades ago. My mother, who loved the nickel slots, was in town. We met family members at Mystic Lake, enjoyed the buffet lunch and tried our luck.
That was the day my husband and I, infrequent gamblers despite what you might think as you read this column, made a vow. The next time someone suggested gambling of any sort, we would decline and write a check to a local food shelf instead.
Which is why I never watch horse races on television. But as I switched channels to find a movie last Saturday, an owner was being interviewed right before the derby. His young son was with him. The boy and the horse have similar names, which intrigued me. I stayed tuned to see if it won.
As each horse was announced, I had no opinion and certainly no urge to locate a bookie. Until I heard the name I’ll Have Another, that is. “I would put my money on that horse,” I announced to my husband. “All of it.” He rolled his eyes and laughed.
Thirty-two dollars and 60 cents for every dollar I didn’t wager. Too bad the strongest thing in my cup was tea. Otherwise, I would have asked for another.