A Cup of Coffee--Thursday, August 23, 2001

By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permission

In continuation of yesterday's column, Joe Horse, Joe Better and Joe Idon'tknow go over today's card. They bring three strategies to the betting windows. Joe Horse tries to get inside a horse's head. He cares more about the shine of a horse's coat than he does the odds on the board. Joe Bettor is the accountant of the three. He's all numbers. Joe Idon'tknow is the guy you get behind at post time who sets a beer up on the window ledge and starts going through bets like Charlie Brown's teacher.

Here goes:

First Race:
Joe Horse stands at the rail and marvels at the size of the nine jumpers. He can't get past Loyal Spirit. He's as stout a horse as he's ever seen. Reminds him of the horses back on the farm. He'll risk two bucks to win on him; been a tough week at the Spa.

Joe Bettor loves War Talk. He puts a circle around his last eight races, all stakes. Drop down in class. Jonathan Sheppard. Blythe Miller. By Kingmambo. Not enough value, waits.

Joe Idon'tknow takes one look at this race, slaps down his Pabst Blue Ribbon and bets five to win on Miles Ahead, because that's what he's going to be when this one's over. As he's walking back to the picnic table, he notices they printed the ticket wrong, he wanted the 1A not the 1. "Knew I shoulda gone to Great Escape instead." Stops past Ben and Jerry's for a cone to cool himself off.

Second Race:
Joe Horse falls in love with The Music Man, $900,000 colt by Kingmambo. Second-time starter. But damn, what about the six? These babies at Saratoga. Like picking the Miss America Contest. Better sit this one out.

Joe Bettor can't get past Bullistic Flight. Second time starter, plenty of time from debut, decent number. He'll watch the board and see what happens. Will only play at three to one or better. Juveniles are too unpredictable.

Joe Idon'tknow hears that old Elton John song, "Music man" and throws down a ten on The Music Man. Grabs a hot dog on the way back to the picnic table.

Third Race:
Joe Horse hates all low level claimers. Goes off to read Seabiscuit to take his mind off bad horses.

Joe Bettor sees some old friends from Aqueduct andRockingham. All six starters have competed at one of those tracks. JB wants to jump on the turf to dirt angle of Hightimeforakiss but sees it didn't work the last time. Starts to bet a straight exacta of The Prosequtor and Brightest, ends up hooked on the fourth at Monmouth.

Joe Idon'tknow can't get out of his lawn chair. Sends five bucks over with his cousin to bet, "whoever the hell you think."

Fourth Race:
Joe Horse is in the middle of the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral.

Joe Bettor can't get past Live Band who he had in a show parlay the last time. Bets $100 to win and wheels the field underneath.

Joe Idon'tknow wakes up long enough to see the gray horse walk out of the paddock. Bets his funnel cake money to win on My Girl Natalie.

Fifth Race:
Joe Horse goes back to feed.

Joe Bettor has made a living with Richard Dutrow off the claim. Takes his dead crab money and puts it on Sweat Equity's nose.

Joe Idon'tknow dreams of North Broadway mansions. Yells out "one day" and takes out 20 bucks. Goes to the beer cart and grabs a Molson Ice, we're talking 20 bucks here.

Sixth Race:
The first time a bettor, a horseman, and a tourist agree on anything. The three of them knock each other down throwing money on Only Joe.

Joe Horse straightens his Brook Brothers tie and goes to the boxes.

Joe Bettor dusts off his satin shirt and goes to the big screen.

Joe Idon'tknow re-Velcros his Reef Runners, picks a program up off the ground and dives into the watermelon soaked in vodka back at the tree.

Seventh Race:
Joe Horse goes back to check on that horse who was acting funny.

Joe Bettor can't go against, no matter how hard he tries, the undefeated Edey's Village. He watches the exacta prices to see the best payout. Writes numbers down quicker than the NASDAQ.

Joe Idon'tknow bets an exacta or a trifecta or something, "Gimee the one-two." It's about all he can come up with this late in the day. Gets a tequila shot on the way out of the grandstand.

Eighth Race:
Joe Horse can't believe the eighth isn't a stake. Spends the whole time muttering about the old days of a stake a day. Skips the whole thing and goes for Saturday's overnight.

Joe Bettor throws out Snow Day's Amsterdam debacle and bets a straight exacta with Mountain General. Kicks the ground in disgust over the probable payoffs.

Joe Idon'tknow stands up with a head rush, wishes he wore sun block and goes to bet two of his last four bucks on Multiple Choice. That one we don't have to explain.

Ninth Race:
Joe Horse goes to the paddock, he loves old turf horses, and picks out the three best looking ones of the bunch. Hard to say which ones that'll be the night before. Look for him as the horses walk out of the paddock, he'll have the three X'd out on his program by then.

Joe Bettor goes over the race again. Tough decision to make here. An Oscar For Bert looks tough from the rail, has great numbers and Bailey. Hmmm. Come On Now Sean is as consistent as they come. Velazquez is hungry. Buying Rain comes out of a stakes. Better go home and try again tomorrow. It's all a conspiracy anyway.

Joe Idon'tknow is passed out.

Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at sean@thesaratogaspecial.com or telephone at 518-581-1947.