A Day at the Races
When I was 22 years old I worked nights as a motel clerk. Every night when I came to work I would see an old Cadillac parked in front of the motel. Shortly after midnight a car would pull up in front of the motel and drop off a passenger, an elderly distinguished looking gentleman. He would get into the Cadillac and drive off. Naturally this aroused my curiosity.
I started to
wave to the gentleman and he would wave back. Finally, one night he came into
the office and introduced himself as “
When I asked
him what he was doing every night
The big night came and I got into the car with Orly and his two fellow gamblers. They introduced themselves as “Whitey” and “Sticks.” Odd names, but working in motels at night you meet all kinds of characters like that. I knew one guy who called himself “Bones” and another who called himself “Mister Lucky.” Mister Lucky wore a gold number seven on a gold chain around his neck. Whitey had prematurely white hair and Sticks was a tall thin guy.
When we got to the racetrack they would suggest horses for me to bet on. I didn’t bet much, only $2 here and there. I actually won my first bet on the first race, then lost on the second race.
race offered a gimmick bet, called a trifecta. In a trifecta race, rather than
just betting on one horse to win, you can bet on a combination of three horses
to finish first, second and third. If you got all three horses in the right
sequence you win a substantial payoff.
Then listening to my friends’ advice, I won again on the fourth race! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. My friends really knew their stuff; no wonder they were going to the racetracks every night.
After that I
was not very lucky. After the eighth race I was ahead about $50 on the night,
due to my big trifecta win. The
last race was another trifecta but we decided to beat the rush and leave early.
The next morning I checked the paper. I was shocked and thrilled to find out I had won a second trifecta! My $6 ticker was worth over $200.
A few days later I was talking with an old family friend who also was a regular at the track and bragged about my successful venture into the world of big-time gambling. At first he was impressed, until he asked who I went to the track with. When I told him the names he started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“No wonder you won,” he replied. “You went down to the track with the three biggest bookies in town.”
finally dawned on me. The three races I had won must have been fixed in
advance. My bookie friends had set me up. I think
If I had stayed in that job perhaps I’d be a career criminal today.