Springbreak. A word that conjures up beach, sun, and partying for the college crowd. A word that strikes fear into mothers of school-age kids with the constant, "Mommy, can I have a Fruit Roll-Up?" (No) or "Mommy, I want to go to the park," (It's raining) or "Mommy, there's nothing on TV! I'm soooo bored," (Read a book).
This morning, while my daughters are momentarily scurrying about the house and building some sort of fort with my good sofa cushions, I have managed to snag the computer to remark about another of my favorite spring-flings: the Azeri Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Oaklawn.
Okay, okay, okay ... I know that it was Saturday and it seems rather pointless to tout any particular filly or mare unless there was a distinct possibility that one might get trapped in some type of time loop, something akin to a Star Trek episode. But the story of Happy Ticket is just so ... well, happy.
Happy Ticket, a Louisiana-bred, had enjoyed an outstanding racing career in her home state, beating up on the competition. Fair Grounds, Delta Downs, Louisiana Downs - she was pretty much unbeatable. Eventually, she was sent out into the Great Big Wide Horse World, away from her Louisiana-bred competition, and raced against the likes of Madcap Escapade and Ashado. Where I did not make very much money on Happy Ticket when she ran here in the South, I put her in exactas when she ran at Belmont and Saratoga. I will never forget last fall, when she chased down Ashado in the Beldame (gr. I), coming in second by a half-length at 10-1. Easy money.
The Azeri had Happy Ticket facing another fine filly, Round Pond. Round Pond is trained by John Servis, who invented Oaklawn as a great venue for winning great races when he invented Smarty Jones. A Round Pond/Happy Ticket exact was not going to pay much, "Not worth the effort to even box the thing, " I scoffed. So, I did something that I rarely do: I bet the exacta straight - with Happy Ticket right on top. I bet the trifecta straight - with Happy Ticket right on top again. And we all know the outcome of the race and we all know that my wagering tickets were not happy ones. But it was a thrilling race; a true horse race and a testimony to a couple of fine horses and their trainers, jockeys, owners, and whatever they had for breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast, I hear a little whining voice, "Mommy, I'm hungry!" When does school start again?