Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Day treat

Quite the gift yesterday when 36-to-1 Pool Play closed the field to take down the Stephen Foster, catapulting me to 31st among NHC Tour players (102nd overall) on the Public Handicapper.  Picking Rahystrada in the Colonial Turf Cup was a plus, albeit much smaller ($9.80), as well, so I'm feeling good this morning and hoping my wife and kids say "let's head over to Monmouth Park this afternoon."  At least I can dream a little...

Anyway, a Happy Father's Day to all of you other Dads out there on what's shaping up to be a banner day weather-wise.  I failed to take down the grand prize, but my entry to Monmouth's "Dad of the Year" contest - a story about my favorite experience with my father ("Tony the Retired Mailman") at Monmouth - was good enough to score a consolation prize that we'll take advantage of later in the season.

2011 at AC Race Course
There's no better man in the world, in my opinion, and if you ever see his mug at Monmouth betting another chalk exacta, wish him well.

Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it...
Visitors to The Shore’s Greatest Stretch may bask in the warm summer glow of cashing that big ticket or feasting on crab cake sandwiches and sipping a cold beer with Dad on a hot summer Sunday in Oceanport, but my finest recollection of Monmouth Park remains the monsoon-like Friday card of the 2007 Breeders Cup.

Apropos of a retired letter carrier perhaps, but neither sideways rain nor drenched clothes nor sloppy track (nor poor handicapping) could dampen the enjoyment of (as Dad calls it) “doping out” the races, talking horses and family life, and bonding with the most significant man in my life, whose lessons when I was a boy now unwittingly seep through the rearing of my own daughter and son.

Whether tirelessly working two jobs to put two often unappreciative kids through college, or mustering up the energy after daily 13-hour workdays to be steady quarterback for the neighborhood kids in our summer twilight football tussles, "Tony the Mailman," "Turtle" or "Hobo", as some have called him over time, remains a lesson in selflessness, devotion and love -- the true personification of “Father.”

Now he, as a grandfather, and I, as a devoted father in his footsteps, have few opportunities to share our passion for handicapping thoroughbreds at resplendent Monmouth Park (part of our family fabric for four decades) but neither of us will forget the wettest but most glorious day of not cashing a single ticket. 
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
Love, Bill.

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