Here are 49 great things about horse racing, in no special order.
1. Lawyers usually lose at the windows.
2. Spouses don't like the races.
3. The Racing Form out-stats baseball almanacs.
4. Surprisingly few people keel over dead at the track.
5. Losers pay the winners.
6. There has not been a Triple Crown winner in 28 years.
7. The track is one of the last havens for sober colorful characters.
8. Slot suckers pay some of the rent.
9. Bets you're shut out on seldom win.
10. There's lots of elbow room at the races.
11. A race is a potent diversion.
12. Good women jockeys pay dividends.
13. Expert handicappers on TV couldn't hit their backsides with a jockey's whip.
14. At Santa Anita, the aging movie stars are usually looking good.
15. Birds of all feathers gather at the rail to try to change their luck.
16. At the small tracks, everybody knows the crooks.
17. On the quarter horse circuit, there is a 64-year old jockey named Roy Brooks who rides regularly.
18. Some long shots make no sense to anybody besides you, and win.
19. No kids.
20. No dogs.
21. Somebody you know is always at the simulcast joint.
22. The tote board is today about as it was when it was first installed at an American track -- Arlington Park in 1933 -- and it continues to provide low-tech surprises, like how much a payoff turns out to be.
23. Unlucky people who jinx horses are real.
24. Race track pizza is like a ballpark hot dog -- it's great, no matter the under-cooked ingredients.
25. Pick 3's, 4's and 6's pay more than you would expect.
26. A teller at an eastern track said that refusing to tip would freeze a win streak.
27. Horse race movies are always uplifting.
28. British announcers have a way of elevating the moment so that you might think: Hey, this ain't that bad a way to spend a Wednesday night by yourself.
29. Big-time jockey's wives are usually something statuesque.
30. Ex-jockeys as TV commentators pick winners about as well as your Aunt Martha and your Uncle Blockhead.
31. Tip sheets frequently miss them all.
32. The most eerily moving winner's circle photo I ever saw included the horse, the jockey, the trainer, and not another person.
33. Sometimes guys who sort through the garbage get lucky and find live Trifecta tickets worth thousands.
34. Calls of quarter horse races sound something like this: They're off, here they come, you lose.
35. The sound of a gate opening is electric.
36. Sometimes you wind up with a ticket with the wrong numbers on it, and it wins.
37. There are no advertising stickers on a horse's rump.
38. There are no wins under caution flags.
39. Even $2,500 claimers can seem regal for an instant in post parades.
40. In the sticks, Quinellas sometimes pay more than Exactas.
41. Members of opposite teams, the jockeys, share a locker room.
42. Speed numbers can lie, go figure.
43. Most tracks have a bias.
44. Drunks lose.
45. Old smokers hang in there.
46. If a horse shakes its head side to side repeatedly, you can have it.
47. Lost jockey is a trouble line.
48. There's mud.
49. Unlike golfers, tennis, soccer, basketball and baseball players, American horses have guts and compete well on a global basis.