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Too good and quiet

When three of my picks in the first Breeders' Cup race Friday finished in the top four, and when an exacta resulting from the boxing of these horses paid $83.40, and when the choices of the three TV pickers ran closer to last than first, I looked around to celebrate.

Finding nobody, I got on the phone and called a friend. He was at the local simulcast venue. He had just lost $75 and said something untoward, and hung up on me.

Next, I called an ex-wife.

"So you're still at it," she said.

"Still winning money you mean?"

"It's Friday afternoon," she said.

She had to go to a meeting at work.

"You don't want to know what the exacta paid?"

Too late.

Then I called somebody in the sports department at the newspaper where I write a column.

"Did you see that?" I said.

"See what?"

He said he was seeing only football and basketball stories.

This was a home-schooled type of Breeders' Cup day. Tired of crowds and drunks and other distractions, I had organized the home office into one of the most efficient handicapping and wagering settings possible. Past performances were in order. One pad was for making notes about track biases. The rail on the dirt was acting like it was electric and was sending horses back. Closers were enjoying the soft grass. With all the materials where they should have been, there was no room for excuses.

The wagering system on the computer was functioning perfectly.

Somebody was walking two dogs along the sidewalk out front.

"The exacta in the first race of the Breeders' Cup paid 84 bucks," I said.

The man reached into his front jacket pocket, probably for something to spray if I charged him.

I went back to the computer to collect.

The problem with a perfect wagering setup is there's nobody live to celebrate with.