Home schooled

Will I'll Have Another end the Triple Crown drought with a Belmont Stakes victory? Getty Images

At the finish of the wildly exciting Preakness, I stood from my home wagering site, which is a computer and a desk and a credit card and a pad and a pencil and a TV set, and I said, "Did you see that?"

I had watched the memorable race with my 7-year-old English springer spaniel, who indicated that he had not seen anything.

Experiencing excitement alone is not so much excitement as it is drama.

True excitement breeds noise.

A lone noise only scares the dog.

A finish like the one that happened at the Preakness deserves company.

One of the benefits of wagering at home in a legal fashion is privacy. Another is accuracy, no tickets to clutch, no tellers to blame for hitting the wrong button. A drawback to wagering at home is being alone in a moment of supreme exaltation. There's nobody to hug. There's nobody with whom to share a successful win bet that got there by something like the length of a jawbone. So after making sure that I had made the correct win wager on I'll Have Another, I left the home wagering center and went outside and asked my neighbor-lady if she had seen that, a defining moment in a great sport's classic season.

She was on the porch.

She's 92 years of age and still drives.

She asked if I had seen her garbage can.

I asked if she had seen the Preakness.

Neither of us had seen what interested the other.

My neighbors to the other side had adopted two sons from a faraway land and hadn't seen anything but boys and sleep in months.

A woman across the street was watering her flowers.

"Did you see that?" I called out.

"See what?" she asked in return.

"The end of the race."


I went back inside and got a phone and started calling people who enjoyed horse racing, got nobody live, which meant they hadn't won much if anything, because nobody likes to talk after losing. I left the message, "Wasn't that something!"

Horse race crowds are made for great flashes like this, breathtaking endings, friends sharing a historic Triple Crown march, one of those we-are-the-champions moments, the bettors and the winning horse.

So I got in the car and drove to the simulcast venue in the town where I live. Nobody wants to lose at that place. But it's a decent site for sharing a victory.

By the time I got there, most of the winners had collected and had left. Sour losers were in their beer, looking at small tracks to get even.

So I drove back home.

A sports talk show on the radio was talking about the Indiana Pacers basketball team.

An hour later, somebody returned my call, saying he had a hundred bucks in wagers with Bodemeister on top and was too depressed to talk anymore.

So it's on to New York, where two horses with the most skills will race toward the wire, the Triple Crown contender and Union Rags, who owes more people money than the government.

Those playing at home should invite over somebody who likes the same wagers as they do.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.