Watching Penn National on the Internet at 56k
(The picture is a spankin' 2 inches across. Maybe. We are tuned in
to see if the immortal Zippy Chippy can better his already
legendary record for futility.)
Thursday, January 31, 2002, McChump HQ Midwest:
When I tuned in there was two talking heads. No sound. One good thing about it: Their picks would not prove wrong.
There was a paddock shot of Zippy getting saddled, but a stanchion was in the way so you couldn't see anything. You knew it was Zippy, though, because the graphics said so in fuzzy letters, and the saddlecloth on this tiny brown blob was yellow. The odds on #4 at this point looked to be 4-1 if you squinted enough.
Then the tiny brown blob with the yellow saddlecloth took a turn around the walking ring.
After that, all the tiny fuzzy brown blobs went out on the track, and the tiny brown blob with the yellow saddlecloth appeared to be dancing on its toes. Lookin' good.
Then I went and did some dishes. All the Internet says in-home simulcasting is wonderful because you can multitask and do other things. This proves it. Would I be doing dishes at the live track? I think not. What a time saver.
When I came back, it was 2 MTP and the #4 was up to 8-1. I think. The numbers were a bit fuzzy. Could have been 3-1, could have been 5-1, could have been &-1. But 8-1 was a good guess.
At 1 MTP #4 was down to 7-1. The smart money had come in. There was $538 bet on him to win. That I could make out.
There followed a picture of what looked like a starting gate, blue on the bottom and white on the top, and some fuzzy motion behind and inside it. The odds on #4 were now 11-1.
And they're off! Looks like a good start for all the tiny brown fuzzy blobs!
There is still no sound.
The blobs jerked across the screen for a few moments, and then some colored numbers came up at the bottom. Yellow #4 was not amongst the colored numbers as the blobs jerked down the backstretch. Not on the turn, either.
Just before the top of the turn the whole picture dissolved into a gooey gray-brown mess where nothing could be distinguished, until several seconds later the haze started clearing a bit, and some brown blobs were scurrying down what looked to be the home stretch. None of their saddlecloths looked yellow, though it was hard to tell. The blobs crossed the finish, with actually kind of a thrilling blob finish, one blob getting up just at the end to nip another blob, but the camera stayed trained there. Finally a last blob came trotting by, and the cloth definitely looked yellow.
Dead last for the Zippy Chippy blob, I am afraid.
And wow, it was just like being there. This Internet racing rocks.