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A fair horse racing loss made in Heaven

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A fair horse racing loss made in Heaven

Jason Campbell and Jagada Chambers hold their breath while awaiting the photo-finish results of Race No. 6 at the San Joaquin County Fair.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED June 17, 2010 2:52 a.m.
When I hit the San Joaquin County Fair’s 150th birthday party at the racetrack Wednesday, it had all the feelings of a special day. Weather couldn’t have been better, Manteca’s presence was heavily in the mix and the view could have only been better on one of the horses.

We got on the scene a little before 12:30 and immediately worked in some pick 3 and pick 4 warm-up bets to get the blood circulating. I went in with the mindset to stay focused on our race (Race 6 on the card) and leave the other race wagering to a minimum.

We were shooting a couple of bucks on each race at Hollywood Park as well as the card right in front of our faces. Success had eluded me for a few races and then I hit one on the fourth race, lifting my confidence to peak levels.

We both made a final cram session and cruised down to make our bets. The feeling of betting with somebody else’s money was not as relaxing as I thought it’d be. I had to swing for the fences, so I used a 50-cent superfecta as my method of choice. Of my $20 wager, $18 went to a 10,4 with 10,4,6 with 1,3,5,6 with all bet, with the final two-bucks going on an 8,9 with 10 exacta.

Campbell put something together (he probably mentions it over in his locker room), but I wasn’t impressed.

We stood up as the horses broke from the gates and immediately my No. 10 horse (Trip to the Ranch) got in trouble. The No. 4 horse (Bev’s Ex) stood strong, giving me reason to hold on and believe. By the time they had chewed up three-furlongs, the race was shaping into something I’d be pleased with.

On the back stretch, my favorite long shot (the No. 9 in my final $2 exacta-bet, Thunder One) began running with vengeance. The No. 10 horse was on the comeback, but I knew it wouldn’t be able to get up. All I kept thinking was ‘Why not two-dollars on the nine to win?’.

Needless to say, Thunder One held off a determined Peacan Nut (No. 5) at the wire for a huge upset ($20.80) in our sixth race. Long shots had paved the way throughout the early card, but for some reason, I let that slip my mind when I walked to the window.

Campbell had Pecan Nut in a trifecta that barely missed, so I may have to, ungratefully, give him the split-decision on points. I picked the winner and that has to go for something, but dealing with the reality of my blown opportunity stung for a couple of minutes.

As I made my way down the stairs, departing from one of the coolest birthday parties I’ve been to in a while, I couldn’t be mad at the outcome.

We had the privilege of watching a man (Pops) pick about five long-shot winners and get paid on each of them from our same box. I got that indescribable-feeling of turning eight-quarters into more than a hundy, and I learned to accept soccer’s most meaningful contribution to sports with the infamous neal-neal tie.

Anytime you can walk away from a race track with more money than you came with you have had an exceptional day. Of course it was tough to miss out on such a golden opportunity to one-up a buddy, but as perfect as my day was, I think even I can probably deal with losing.

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