Archive for the 'equine assisted psychotherapy' Category

Spun Short by 2 Lengths

My much touted new favorite racehorse is a bit of a speed demon.

I know I know: what a smashing coincidence!!

Did anyone take my advice and bet smartly on Hard Spun last weekend? I didn’t. Oh I bet on him alright. Just that I didn’t bet smartly.

Whole thing reminds me of 3 years ago when I somehow managed to convince what must have been a dozen or more friends to bet Lion Heart to win the Kentucky Derby. Because Lion Heart was the #3 horse. And it just so happens that my lucky number is three.

“Are you sure this horse is going to win?” They asked.

“Oh shit yes.” I insisted. “Ab So Fucking Lutely!”

Occasionally I will take the time to peer pressure you, good readers, into betting on a particular racehorse. Like Hard Spun. When I do just, you know — don’t be a fool.

Bet more than you can afford to lose!

I’m right every single time.

Can I get a Witness??

It’s true.

They all came out to the Bar to watch the Big Race. Lion Heart led 3-quarters of the way around the track. Everyone cheered gloriously & reeled. I gasped elatedly. I’ll never forget the feeling; that a bar-load of friends would win cold cash plus a beautiful buzz — thanks to me! I felt deeply & dizzily pleased.

Now Lion Heart throws the gauntlet down & opens his lead by three!

So said the Churchill Downs track announcer. With only a quarter-mile left to race! It was all over in my book; nothing left to do but grin wildly & lay back — with my mind on my money & my money on my mind.

Bitchin!

But Smarty Jones is a stalking second as they reach the Quarter Pole.

That’s what the track announcer said next. I wasn’t sure what he meant — was there another horse in the race?

Bogus!

Stalking — I learned a few seconds later — is when a racehorse hangs strategically a few lengths off the lead and waits for speed demons like Lion Heart to tire in the homestretch.

My lucky #3 horse got sacked in the race’s final strides. The once-exuberant Bar din fell to what sounded to my ear’s like a disgusted hush.

Ah, fuck.

We who were once so mighty!

All eyes were on me.

Probably the only people in that Bar who felt more dumb than I did, about our collective loss, were the people who put their money where my big mouth was. I told them I knew for sure which horse would win the Kentucky Derby & their dumb asses believed me!

Why not? Remember — I’m never wrong about these things. Also remember: never believe me when I say I know for sure which horse will win a Kentucky Derby. That’s the fantastically wishful thinker in me talking. I have no clue who will win actually.

But I’ll tell you for sure who wants to.

And any racehorse who wants to win stands a fine chance of finishing In The Money.

Hard Spun likewise commanded a powerful lead at the quarter pole in last Saturday’s Derby. I lifted my NY Mets cap off my head and whirled it excitedly. Hard Spun!! Get it? Like, spun on drugs dude!

Awesome.

Way.

But I knew he would get sacked in the end; all good speed demons meet the same fate on Kentucky Derby Day. But you know what?

It was way awesome anyway.

Here’s why — and this is the secret to a good day of gambling anywhere on planet Earth.

I figure I’ll lose. But I want to win. How to reconcile? Make bets I’ll pat myself on the back for even when I lose. Like last Saturday, when I bet $10 on Hard Spun to Win. It was a bet, at the race’s end, that I felt good about. In large part because my heart wanted Hard Spun to win. And to a lesser, though nowhere near insignificant, extent, because I placed that bet with a $10 spot generously donated to my Cause by Absynth Eve.

It also helped that Absynth Eve had Street Sense to Win. I positively whooped on her behalf when her horse took over at the eighth-pole. And Absynth Eve kindly refrained from teasing me over the her/me won/lost scenario all the way up ’till today.

Not lost on us was the fact that our horses came in 1-2; we had the Kentucky Derby exacta. Not that we bet it but we could have. Shit for $2 apiece we could’ve boxed the fucker — to spare ourselves a quibble over particularly in which order those top 2 horses would run.

Also adding to the fun was the total of 1 friend who bet and won on my solid — if not exemplary — recommendation: My buddy KC bet $5 on Hard Spun to Show. A show bet is when you cash in — albeit at shorter odds than the straight bet to Win — when your horse finishes anywhere in the top 3. KC none-too shabbily banked $17.50 on that piddly $5 investment.

The same $5 would’ve returned $25 had I bet my new favorite racehorse to Place (finish in the top 2). How obscenely dumb of me not to!

Like I said: I picked one fuck of a good horse for this year’s Derby. Shit my bitch ass picked the second place finisher in the greatest horserace on Earth! And failed to win money only because I did not bet smartly.

But what the hell? There’ll be more Kentucky Derbies — end of the world notwithstanding. I’ll win money next time; and if not it won’t be for lack of Practice. With that…I’m off to the OTB.

Enjoy the smashingly good race!

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My New Favorite Racehorse…

…Does a good-time flying breeze leap across the finish line.

hardspun.jpg

What does your favorite racehorse do for fun?

the Million Dollar Race

My very first post on open container speedWay – the Get Rich Quick Trick of the Week – was a bit of a failure.

No one got rich quick on my advice that week.

I wrote it the morning of last year’s Preakness Stakes. The Preakness is the so-called “2nd Jewel” of the Triple Crown; the fabled & elusive grand prize of American thoroughbred horseracing.

The Triple Crown is a 3-race sequence that begins on the first Saturday every May with the Kentucky Derby. It’s followed in two weeks by the Preakness. The third and final jewel, run 3 weeks after the Preakness, is the grueling mile & one-half Belmont Stakes; a veritable equine marathon.

These races are restricted to 3-year-old horses. For a variety of reasons – the distance of each race; the length of time between races; that they’re run by a particular crop of horses just once – it is a supreme achievement to win all three. A supreme achievement, and rare. Accomplishable only by the rarest of Champions.

The Triple Crown was won three times – by Secretariat, Seattle Slew & Affirmed – during the 1970’s. None have won all three races since.

With few exceptions, none of my readers are racehorse enthusiasts. Still I feel certain that each of you will feel touched, in a strange way – touched by joy – when finally the Crown gets claimed by a rarest of equine champions.

It’ll give cause to celebrate.

In each of the past three years an exceptional racehorse has very nearly won. Came so close that their losses, viewed in combination, can only be described as an extreme fluke.

In 2004 Smarty Jones nailed the Derby & Preakness in impressive fashion – only to lose the Belmont by a mere length before a stunned & saddened crowd of 130,000.

In 2005 Afleet Alex treated fans of the game to emotionally stirring Preakness & Belmont Stakes wins – after he was eliminated, from Triple Crown contention, when he finished the Kentucky Derby one seemingly inexplicable length behind 50-to-1 longshot winner Giacomo.

Last year, of course, it was Barbaro.

Barbaro buried fellow Kentucky Derby contenders so profoundly that his ultimate sweep of the Triple Crown was considered an all but unstoppable certainty.

“Barring some unforeseen tragedy,” Washington Post racehorse columnist Andy Beyer – a deservedly well-regarded purveyor of such opinions – swore, “Barbaro will win the Triple Crown.”

I disagreed. So I wrote a blog-post, the morning of last year’s Preakness Stakes, which urged readers to bet against Barbaro. That was my Get Rich Quick Trick of the Week.

“Barbaro will lose today,” I assured, it turned out, too correctly.

So in a sense the post did succeed. I was right. But I came up short in two crucial ways: 1. I did not explain why my certainty that Barbaro would lose. 2. I did not provide my readers – or myself for that matter – with a viable alternative wager.

The fact that Barbaro ultimately lost his life, to a gruesome leg injury sustained at the race’s onset, still makes me feel a little…weirded out. By the irony. But grateful, ultimately, for my failure to predict the winner.

Barbaro’s loss was a genuine tragedy. Not just for the horse, his connections, and fans of the race game; Barbaro’s loss is indicative of a greater calamity.

Humankind’s.

And I want no profit from humankind’s calamity.

The equine as a species has been profoundly good & helpful to humans. But humans by & large have treated the equine cruelly — racehorses in particular.

One example: In his final race before the 2005 Kentucky Derby, Afleet Alex, despite his already insurmountable lead, was whipped mercilessly by jockey Jeremy Rose. Though it was a profoundly careless decision, one can’t blame Rose entirely. He was over-excited. His mount’s owners were considering replacing him with a more experienced jockey for the Kentucky Derby. So Rose wanted to prove he could pilot Afleet Alex to an impressive win.

“It was a Million Dollar Race,” Rose explained, when asked by reporters to justify his plainly needless whip action.

It was a Million Dollar Race.

One Afleet Alex indeed did win impressively; but the cost of that performance was dear.

Fast forward three weeks: Afleet Alex, with a quarter-mile to go, is in a perfect stalking position to surge forward & overtake the Big Race’s tiring leaders; superbly poised to win the Kentucky Derby. Yet he ‘failed to fire,’ as they say in racetrack parlance. His one-length loss, I’ve mentioned, is considered inexplicable by fans of the game.

But I can explain it easy.

Perhaps his blowout win 3 weeks earlier caused Afleet Alex to inadvertently expend the ATP he needed to triumph in the Kentucky Derby. Though I believe the loss was more conscious, than biochemical, in nature.

I propose it was deliberate.

When asked by his jockey to hit the gas, as it were, and make a winning move in the Churchill Downs’ homestretch…Afleet Alex simply said, “Whatever dude.”

Remember: Afleet Alex went on to score huge wins in the Preakness & Belmont. Thus, had he won the Derby, Afleet Alex would’ve swept the Triple Crown – a priceless prize that would give humans joy – and he plumb did not want to.

Not after he got his ass whipped for money.

And that, albeit belatedly, explains why I knew Barbaro would lose last year’s Preakness Stakes. Overwhelming likelihood is, had he won the Preakness, Barbaro would’ve gone on the claim the Crown. But he, like Afleet Alex, did not want to. Or perhaps he wanted to but regrettably could not; because people are cruel to racehorses. And cruelty inevitably begets disappointment.

Heads Up to the human community: the racehorses are trying to tell us something!

Smart bet is to listen.

& then She Peeled the Fuck Out.

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Just Zip It [far left] gains ground in the homestretch.

the Raw Want to Win

My buddy Alan over at Left At The Gate is part owner of this — by appearance — absolutely smashing racehorse. Her name is Just Zip It. Just Zip It is a 2-year-old filly. A filly is a young female equine. Just Zip It races for the first time in the 4th at Aqueduct today.

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Just Zip It’s career debut will be against fellow 2-year-old filly Maidens. This is interesting: Maiden races are restricted to horses who’ve never won. Or, as with Just Zip It, never run.

The business of betting on a Maiden race boils down purely to one, albeit vexing, question: which horse wants it the most?

Maiden races require a peculiar blend of raw hunch tempered by mathematical deduction. Whereas, with older horses, it’s often the other way around — mathematics tempered by instinct.

I love to bet the Maidens. Here’s why: when I bet on a horse — the Long Shot — who’s not ‘supposed’ to win it feels like I’ve bet smartly on me.

😉

And Maidens win at long odds more frequently than contenders in any other type of race.

The best is when, on a hunch, you select & bet on a first-timer — like Just Zip It — and win. A horse who plumb wants it enough to prevail in her very first race…she makes me hearts leap! It’s inspiring.

And a powerful lesson for People: Why bet on a horse who has never proved their worth in a race? Why? Raw want — that’s the key. When I bet for what I want most I feel good even when I lose. And that, dear readers, is the Ticket to a good day of Gambling.

I ask: does Just Zip It look like she wants to win?

I’ve thought so for months. Alas I can’t bet on her. She races in just over an hour — 2PM — and I have no dough.

So goes.

But — that being the case — I deeply suspect she’ll win.

I’m rooting cosmically for her. For good reasons: 1. I have a good feeling about her and good feelings are right. Dig? I want to feel good and right today! Shit I’ll be broke either way…

2 . I got mad Props for my buddy Alan. He keeps the best racehorse blog in Town. I read his stuff — for love of the races — every day for a year. The first thing that struck me about the dudes blog — & Blogs in general — was that he owed his success to the Oldest Trick in the Literary Book:

He writes about what he loves. And every once in awhile insults some jerk like Dick Cheney. Follow that formula impeccably and even crappy joints like Open Container speedWay can go Huge.

And if all else fails you can always toss in some stuff about chicks & drugs & booze.

The horses have reached the Starting Gate…all in line & they’re OFF!

Click shortly after 2Pm if you want to watch the free replay. [4th race Nov. 24]

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Password: 673720

my nigaa Scrappy T

First initial is Mike
Go by the middle name
E

always In The Money
Like my nigaa
Scrappy T

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Scrappy T’s my favorite racehorse
Go Scrappy GO!
Can’t win every time
But he wants to
He’s my Hero!

Overlooked him in your Triple
& he got Up For the Show
That’s why your Money Said Goodbye
and I say Hello!

Hello Hello

When your money says Goodbye
I say:
thanx for D money Yo!

virtual Brain Medicine

With a push of a button, special effects will appear — a mosque’s call to prayer, a sandstorm, the sounds of bullets or bombs. “We can put a person in a Virtual Reality headset and have them walk down the streets of Baghdad,” says University of Southern California psychologist Skip Rizzo. “They can ride in a Humvee, fly in a helicopter over a battle scene or drive on a desert road.”

This is no video game, nor is it a training device. Rizzo and colleagues are developing a psychological tool to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, by bringing soldiers back to the scenes that still haunt them.
>>Wired1.28.2005

The theory — and by my good estimate it’s sound — goes: face the trauma until we may face it calmly. Regroup & repeat as needed.

I have my own traumas. We all do. Mine seem more In My Face than some. Compare mine with some other’s and all I can say is it sucks to be me. But so what?

I’ve lost a few bets on racehorses. I usually want to kill myself afterward. Yeah — over 5 bucks. Can you believe that?

Me neither.

That’s what I’d realize on long walks homeward after I lost my last $5 on the races. I want to die all the time. Not over 5 dollars. It had more to do with the times as a child I was unconscionably molested.

So goes.

Like the Vet who submits voluntarily to Virtual Combat for PTSD treatment I’ve peered long on my walks homeward into trauma’s ill effect on me. Until I learned to laugh in spite. Wrote a good story about it. Now I don’t want to die near as much as I used to.

Good for me.

I’d rather blog-post than gamble these days. Sworn all bets off? Sh!t no. Bets are Fun. But I have better luck lately when I chase Truth down — or over the rollercoaster top — in writing.