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First off, happy Independence Day and a safe one.

We are very fortunate here in the land of the free and home of the brave even though a lot of people take it for granted and take advantage of their freedoms. I just happened to turn on the news yesterday as I really don’t like to put myself in a bad mood so I very seldom watch it with all the talking heads.

I am in a bad enough mood with my losing tickets. But I started to listen as they had this movie critic on and he was giving out the top five patriotic movies in his opinion. At the top of his list was “Independence Day,” a movie that would not make my top 100!

Now when I was growing up as a young lad in Steubenville, Ohio, every 4th of July we would try and watch, if it was on the boob tube, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” which is one of the best if not the best patriotic movie of all time and one of the top musicals.

The great James Cagney portrays the also great George M. Cohan. Both were Irish Americans so Cagney was a perfect fit. This is one of his greatest performances with his song and great dance.

One of the best scenes is when he goes to the White House to get a medal from President Franklin Roosevelt; a must watch especially in black and white.

As I was riding around yesterday I noticed all the fireworks stands. It reminded me of when my brother Tom and I were kids and wanted to get some fireworks for the 4th of July. My mom said just take a dollar bill and burn it, that’s what you’re doing.

We usually had a little cookout in the back yard. It was one of those tiny barbecues; we had some burnt hot dogs that probably cost around 50 cents for a package of six or eight. We did get a box of sparklers with my aunt NeNe yelling “don’t burn yourself” as we ran around the yard with a hotdog and a sparkler in our hands.

Those were very simple times and very patriotic to say the least, but time goes by and all we have now are our fond memories. We still have our freedoms right now and living in Las Vegas we are really free and can take a little trip down to our favorite book to make some bets.

Last week was a total disaster. My horse play of the day got a horrible trip and in this column I liked the Pirates to sweep the Giants. The opposite happened as the Giants swept the Pirates and my two plays for Tuesday both went down the drain. Both teams came back on Wednesday and won. I should have had them listed as Two for Wednesday.

We will try and regroup this week as we look toward the weekend games, trying to find a good series to bet on.

The White Sox travel to Colorado to play a three-game interleague series with the Rockies, who will be very tough to beat at Coors Field in what will be a high scoring series the Rockies will need to win to get back in the hunt in the NL West with the All Star break next week.

Another good series will be the Diamondbacks at home with the Reds coming to town. Starting this week the D’backs were only 2.5 games behind the Dodgers and have been great at home, going 32-13, while the Reds going into Monday’s game were 12-26 on the road.

With Santa Anita closing there will be no horse play of the week until Del Mar opens on Wednesday, July 19. We are looking forward to beautiful Del Mar where the surf meets the Turf.

If you are new to this area and like to play the ponies you should jump into your car and take the five hour trek to Del Mar. You not only will have a good time at the races but it will give you some relief from the heat. With the cheap gas prices the money you save you can bet on a daily double.

If you happen to take the short trip make sure you go down to the paddock and say hi to Tom Quigley who will be checking out horses there at Quigley’s Corner. He just may have a winner. You can’t miss Tom, he will be the one who is taller than the jockeys.

I will continue to do the Los Alamitos TB meet on our website at so don’t forget to go online and get all the plays. If you are not a member it is very easy to sign on, and a very good idea with the football season right around the corner. Just call 702-798-1151. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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