Ruby a Vegas character unlike most

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As the great one, “Bobby Baseball,” would say every morning at the Stardust, “Baseball has been very good to me.”

Before we get into some baseball for this week Las Vegas lost another Damon Runyan character last week who went by the moniker Ruby.

Ruby Goldstein was one bettor who had to have a play every day and it didn’t matter what it was. He preferred to bet the ponies, and my one story about Ruby goes back to 1978.

Ruby had big time connections in Florida, especially with first time 2yo starters running at Calder. It was a Tuesday morning and in those days in Vegas you could set off a cannon in the casino in the mornings and hit no one.

I was toast this one Tuesday morning as my bankroll was nil to say the least. Busted and disgusted, I needed gas money or just any green. I was walking with my head down thru the Stardust when right there on the floor was a nice $100 bill. I looked around and the place was empty. I picked up the money and my head was spinning as I was breaking down how I would use it.

As I got near the racebook I see Katherine Mannix the racebook supervisor waving at me. We were very good friends. She says Ruby just made a nice laydown on a firster at Calder at 12/1. Now you must remember, when Ruby made a nice laydown on a first time starter at Calder it was just a matter of what it would pay.

Katherine says, “get me down for $20.” I bet her $20 and put $40 to win and $40 to place for myself. I’m still dizzy remembering collecting the money as he paid something like $18 and change.

There was one thing about Ruby, the money never stayed in his pockets for long as he had many other things to bet on. He is gone at age 80 but leaves some great memories for this bettor. When I was working behind the counter at the Stardust, he brought back a Let it Ride T-shirt for me from Hialeah where it was filmed, and yes, Ruby was there. I still have the shirt and live by the motto Let It Ride as we just never know when we are walking around lucky.

Baseball review

In the NL East the Nationals continue to win and we will see what they can do against the Rockies in their first series this week. After the Nats in this division anyone could get hot, except the Braves.

In the NL Central look for the Cardinals to make a big move up the ladder as they have a long home stand. We can see them in second place after this home stand as it starts with the Blue Jays then the Reds and continues next week with the Brewers.

In the NL West the Rockies look like they will be there till the end with good pitching and great bats. The series with the Nationals will be telling and then the Mets come to Coors Field.

The AL East looks like all teams have a shot except the Blue Jays who are in the cellar and just may stay there. The Yanks go to play their hated rival the Red Sox to start the week but head home for a weekend series with the Orioles who sit in first place. After the series at Fenway, the Red Sox could be in first place as they are only two games behind the O’s.

In the AL Central the Indians are starting to put it all together. We like the “Tribe” and think they will be in the World Series again.

In the AL West, the Astros are in control with a three game lead over the A’s who come off a good week, and four over the Rangers – also coming off a solid week.

Derby plan

Next week we will be covering the Kentucky Derby as we look for a price play in a very wide open affair. No racing at Santa Anita on Thursday so we will go to Friday for a play this week. Our play for Friday comes in the 9th race going 1-1/8 on the grass. With No. 5 Marq One we get Kent Desormeaux riding for his brother Keith. Look for a big turnaround and the price will be right.

On Friday, May 5 I will be hosting a Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby breakfast seminar at 8 a.m. in the Palace Station racebook with top handicappers the legendary Professor Gordon Jones and Dave “Track Phantom” Valento. There will be free coffee and breakfast food and we hope lots of good info for everyone to build tickets.

You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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