Hawthorne Racecourse, Cicero, IL, Nov xx

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head when I looked over the Saturday card at HAW. Not just one, not just two, but THREE! horses entered by that craftiest trainer in the tri-planet area, Dr. William W. Davis.

If this wasn't my big chance to finally win the Tripathetica, the wildly popular new wager in which one must pick the losing horses in any three races on the card, then I was never going to win. And the carryover pool was $22 bazillion.

Race 2 - DJ's New Signal - 5-M-0-0 with two solid lasts, a second to last, a third to last, and a troubling 6th of 9. I decided I better double him up with another horse entered by the 2nd craftiest trainer in the tri-planet area. Dr. Davis' usual jock, 70-0-0-0 was in the saddle, and Dr. Davis entered the day a stunning 45-0-0-0.

Race 3 - Noble Degas - 2-M-0-0 with two resounding lasts, 12th by 44 earlier this month, and 10th by 63 in his only other race, this time last year. Dr. Davis had apparently dumped his regular jock, for bad rides or something, in favor of a 61-1-4-1 boy. Somewhat troubling, but not so much that I couldn't single the horse with impunity.

Race 10 - the venerable Khafji, 40-0-0-0 in his last two seasons, a fairly consistent string of lasts except for one horse he beat in his 2nd race back, a $4k claimer, and this was an allowance. Yet another jock the regular was kicked off in favor of, this one being 28-0-0-1. I went ahead and singled Khafji, too.

As the 2nd went off I was just counting that $22 bazillion, and thinking of the new bowling ball and all the other neat stuff I was going to buy. But what's this? The horses have rounded the turn for home and DJ's New Signal is not in last place! "BACK UP, BACK UP, DJ's NEW SIGNAL!", I shouted, but to no avail. The best DJ's New Signal could manage was 3rd to last, and my saver horse didn't finish last either, so all my hopes for finally winning the big Tripathetica score were dashed. It was little consolation when Noble Degas romped home in last, 39 lengths behind the 11th place horse, or when Khafji limped down the home stretch about 200 lengths out.

As I watched Khafji pull up in front of the stands, noticeably limping, I told Stuart I just had to go out front and catch a glimpse of the great man, Dr. William W. Davis. After he unsaddled Khafji, and the poor beast limped off back to the barn, Dr. Davis walked back into the HAW paddock down the ramp, right below where I was standing on the rail, watching. I could have spit on him, he was that close.

Thanks, Dr. Davis, for adding so much to a great sport.