A Day at the Races

In London, there are bookmakers on every corner. It’s very interesting actually. In the US, we have a spite against gambling, I guess, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any harm here. So there’s a Ladbroke’s everywhere you turn, where you can go in and make bets.

But that’s not where the Greatest and Most Glorious Moment happened.

We went to Bath on Thursday and after exploring and tea, we decided to hop out to the Bath Races. Horse races! Alas, no fascinators or glamorous hats were to be seen, but we did get in free, thanks to looking and sounding like clueless Americans.

So, we enter the race, and then what happens? There are tons of bookmakers taking bets at their little stands. Hard as it is for two skinflints like us to part with two pence, we nonetheless decide to place a bet.

But then, the question remains: Which horse should we pick? Well, thankfully enough, it was completely obvious; a horse named Griffin Point was running at 4:1 odds. Not the best, but not terrible, and if there’s one thing any true Baylor fan knows, it’s this: Always bet on Griffin.

So, Will walks up and hands over a fiver and I gasp, of course, because that’s like EIGHT American dollars that we might be throwing away. I was thinking we’d just lose a polite pound or so, just for the fun of it, but not £5.

But it’s too late. The bookmaker has the money in his possession and all we can do is wait and watch.

And they’re off!

The thing about horse racing that I never knew is this – you can hardly see any of it. The horses run and run far away on the course, then they get close to the end of the race and they’re just one big fuzzy-imaged blur and then they’re done. So, that means horse racing commentators are extremely important. We’re listening and listening and the guy says, “Griffin Point in fourth. Blah blah other horse things. Griffin Point moves to third. Other blah blah horses in the lead. And they’re down to the last furlong and GRIFFIN POINT TAKES THE LEAD…”

At this point, serious jumping and hitting ensued – that was all from me. Will looked like he wanted to cheer but I was so busy violently abusing him with joy that there was no room for anything else (I have a race video but I’m basically technology-illiterate so I have no idea how to post that from my phone).

And that’s the story of how we won £20 at the races, and it was a glorious day indeed. A brave person would have probably put more on the next race, but we were cowardly and wanted to bury our winnings away, so we watched after that without betting again.

But seriously, it was so gloriously fun and exciting. I could totally see this being a gateway drug where I start betting people on things like their future wedding dates, baby births and when they can finagle first dates. Seriously slippery slope here.


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