A Day at the Races

Isle Casino has a full-on bar scene to explore.

"Of course, the wine and liquor is extra, but still," she said. "I highly recommend it. You know, for special occasions. Great desserts too, included with the $25. My husband loved the chocolate cake."

Alas, we were not ready to try it out tonight. Escaping Farraddays', we hesitated a little in the poker room — watching a high-stakes table and its ever-shifting crowd and listening to the constant clacking of poker chips.

A smug old man with an obnoxious tone tossed $130 into the pot for one hand.

"I'm all in," he said loudly. "You hear me? I said I'm all in!" 

Sports Bar: Past the poker room was the betting room — featuring a degenerate sight of mostly middle-aged men clutching pieces of paper and tiny pencils and staring at screens, all of which were projecting a different horse race, dog race, or some other bettable activity. We wandered out of the glass doors to the deck above the racetrack and watched as harnessed horses — which actually are cart-pulling horses, each attempting to outtrot the next — whipped around the track. The audience included businessmen clutching betting cards and massage girls out for a cigarette break.

More booze was necessary.

We made our way to the large, rectangular bar and settled down in a booth just beyond it, next to a 12-by-12-foot TV showing four different races. We sipped bourbon.

A tall, blue-eyed man who wore a tank top and a blue "Duncan Racing" cap was standing nearby, looking as though he knew what he was doing.

"How often do you have to play to win big?" I asked him.

"Horseracing?" he asked.

"Whatever can make me some good money, quickly," I said, my expression ultraserious.

"I was born into betting on horseracing," he said. "You gotta get this." He waved a piece of paper under my nose.

"Tells about the horse, its last six races—you can use this to figure out which is gonna win."

"Ooh." I said. "It's all about the literature, eh?"

"Yup," he said. "And make a lot of small bets, but don't be disappointed if you lose. It won't be long before you win big."

"Do you win big?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he said. "The best part is, the house has no advantage in horseracing. It's all about the horses doin' their thing."

 Back to Beard.

"Well, I wanted to win you some money to make your day better," I said. "But looks like it's too much trouble to try."

Beard appreciated the sentiment. "But this bourbon's making my day better plenty."

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