Two of my friends and I have played a handicapping contest every day of Les Bois Park's live racing season for the past 15 years. If you have two friends, try it the next time the three of you go to the races, because it adds to the fun and, if you play for money (the only way to play), you can add to your bankroll and seriously needle your friends.
Here's how it's played: Before each race, each player picks a horse. Your "score" for the race is the amount that your horse pays for the win, place, and show on the toteboard. At the end of the day, tally the scores. We play for $5 plus ten-cents on the dollar for the difference between the winner's and the losers' scores. So, for example, if I win, beating one by $10 and the other by $20, I collect $5 from each of them plus an extra $1 from one and an extra $2 from the other. Not bad, but here's how to make it profitable for all of you: bet your picks.
Each of you throws in $2 per race. For a typical Les Bois Park race-day, that's only $16 total for each person (cheap!). You can settle on your own rules for how to bet your $6 per race, but for starters, try betting all $6 to win if you all pick the same horse. If you all pick different horses, bet a $1 trifecta box with all three horses. And if two of you have the same horse, bet $4 to win on that horse and a $2 quinella, the common horse with the odd horse.
At the end of the day, split those winnings equally, but don't forget to get your $5 plus if you won the contest and don't forget to rub it in now, because your friends might get you back later. After 15 years, our contest is approximately tied, with each of us winning about 33 percent of the contests. Not a lot of "rubbing-in" time.
Les Bois Park's Wednesday night race card for June 23 is an excellent one, with full and nearly-full fields and a couple of Stakes races for three-year-old Idaho-bred Thoroughbreds. Racing begins at 5:45 p.m.
The filly division (the Angi Go Stakes) is the seventh race, where two horses stand out as the horses-to-beat. Paradise Wild took the rail trip to beat Sheza Cats Meow by three lengths on June 5. Meow should be tough tonight. It's a wild catfight, and since I can't pick the winner, I'll get a big quinella, instead (4-7).
In the colts-and-geldings division (the Testum Stakes, eighth race), Game Master appears to have the upper hand, but Robs Coin, Northern Buck, and Sher Time might be up to the challenge (quinella box 1-3-6-8).
The remainder of the races has something for everybody--two-turn races, one-turn races, and a quarter horse sprint, in which Merry Corona, a Texas-bred by Corona Cartel, shows a June 12 workout that's faster than the track record! Don't expect her 8-to-1 morning-line odds to last in the third race.
Look for a blue-blue quinella in the second race (My Blue Moon and Dance N the Blues) and a cold-shoulder quinella in the fourth (Somethingsecret and Peniforyourthought).
The fifth race is impossible--no standouts and no throwouts. Greek Echo, from the No. 6 slot, is my longshot of the day.
Racing continues at Les Bois Park on Saturday, June 26, at 5:45 p.m., and on Sunday, June 27, at 2 p.m. $100,000 is up for grabs in Sunday's AQHA Northwest Derby and AQHA Northwest Challenge Championship races. Sunday might be your last chance to see the great champion quarter horse Ab What a Runner on the local track. Ab What a Runner has four Grade I wins on her data sheet, and has earned almost 1.3 million dollars for her owners, Dennie and Kris Hill of Blackfoot. Simply put, Ab What a Runner is the greatest horse ever to have raced on Les Bois Park dirt. Don't you dare miss it!