At least, I can stand at Del Mar

Jul 31, 2007 4:04 AM

No longer on my feet in the Station Casinos Last Man Standing Del Mar horse handicapping contest and not close in either the Hilton or Jerry’s Nugget contests, it’s time to get out of town.

Destination: A one-day adventure ride to Del Mar. Perhaps my luck and handicapping skills change if I’m at the track.

The day started great. An uneventful ride until heading to Del Mar from Route 5. Bumper to bumper traffic for an hour in what usually is a 15 minute drive from Carlsbad. At least it was nice and cool. Even with the exhaust fumes, you could turn the air off and roll down the windows.

Once at the track, my good friend and GT columnist Ed Golden got me a parking pass so I saved a bet not having to pay for parking. Thanks Ed.

The last time at Del Mar was two years ago (hit Saratoga in 2006) cost me $5 to get into the clubhouse. Now it’s $10 — and that doesn’t get you a seat. So not having to pay for the parking, but paying the $10 into the clubhouse made me feel like I was even. My mood was still good until needing a hot dog and beer. The dog was $8 and the plastic bottle of Coors Light climbed from $7 to $7.50.

I chose to think of it as a bargain since the admission price was doubled. Heck, I would not have been surprised if the beers were $10. I then passed on the first race to save the $25, figuring right that it would be a loser.

I ran into some regular track guys, who go to Del Mar every year from Vegas with issues of GT in hand. By the way, GamingToday is readily available at the track. Anyway, these guys came over, gave me a nice greeting and told me how much they enjoyed reading the newspaper and my column. The also lamented about having the worst betting meet in memory.

They should join the crowd, since few have been able to figure out the track. One day it’s closers, speed the next and then who knows? I decided to just enjoy the sights, cool ocean breeze, bet small and have a couple more $7.50 beers. I did manage to hit a trifecta for $180 to get me even. I was overwhelmed.

Del Mar has really changed the last couple years especially in the training area. At one time trainer Bob Baffert just owned this track and would win the training title almost automatically. He would also unveil some of his super 2yo. Now even he is having a hard time finding the winners circle. This past Saturday, I didn’t even see him at the track.

I did see Frankie Eyelashes, who gave me a big tip on a 2yo named Guns On the Table by Carson City who was 7/2 on the ML. I took a little shot with him with no luck as he broke fast, but took back and never really got untracked. Keepi an eye out for this guy for there’s more there than meets the eyelashes.

Baseball, NFL update:

Baseball continues to be good for the bookies and bad for the bettors. The Pirates, a team I thought would come out strong in the second half, have looked pitiful and may have just packed it in. As for the Yanks, every time I think they are making a big run, te team loses. The Red Sox beat the good teams and lose to the lesser ones. No way to figure out the Nationals, and the Royals just won four straight. Go figure! Bring on football.

Next issue is the first full week of preseason NFL. I will be making selections on each game. I have no fear! Readers are pre-warned that betting opposite my picks last year would have been worth a small fortune. Keep this in mind when looking at my current selections, especially in preseason.

There will be a lot of good plays. Some couches could care less about these games. Others don’t want to get anyone hurt. And there are those, especially new coaches on bad teams, who want to get out of the box fast. Expect them to play for keeps.

Remember, I like the Steelers to cover against New Orleans in the Hall of Fame game Sunday in Canton.

In college football, Ohio State looks like they have one of the easiest schedules in years. If you find an over/under wins I would bet over 9½, sit back and collect.