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"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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