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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

He's Married to the Idea of Selecting the Winner

November 08, 2001|T.J. Simers

The grocery store bagger had some of the stock boys over for dinner, and since many of them were USC graduates, they obviously came from well-to-do families.

So when the talk turned to the wedding, they wanted to know just how big and fancy it was going to be, and I had to be honest with them: It pretty much depended on how things went on opening day at Hollywood Park Wednesday.


WHEN I got to the track I was hoping I'd run into Bob Baffert so he could point out Bobby Frankel to me--the hottest trainer in the business, and the man who was going to give me a winner so I could properly turn my daughter over to the loser she's going to marry.

"My daughter's wedding cost me $100,000, we had the Four Seasons Hotel, the whole bit," said Frankel, and I got the feeling he could really relate to what I was going through until he finished the sentence, "and she was divorced six months later."

I tried to steer him back on to the track, asking about his horse in the seventh race, but Frankel seemed more interested in handicapping my daughter's wedding to the grocery store bagger.

"Probably won't last anyway," said Mr. Sunshine. "I mean what are the odds?"

Now if I wanted to be depressed, I'd call DeShaun Foster or Lamar Odom and ask them, "How's life these days?" I was here to make money--maybe even feel what it's like to be Plaschke on pay day, and Frankel had my winning lottery ticket in Mizzen Mast in the seventh.

I told Frankel if he had any influence with Miz, he might want use it to avoid getting the F.P. Santangelo treatment in the newspaper today.

"He looks really good and he's in A-1 condition," Frankel said, and I was thinking in addition to the $300 limit on my ATM card, I could probably sell my wife's car for another hundred and really make a killing on Frankel's horse.

Of course, knowing how cranky my wife might be if forced to walk to work every day, I asked Frankel for a guarantee, and he said, "He won't finish last."

That was good enough for me--the wife could use the exercise anyway--but then F.P. Frankel had to add one more thing: "He's going to have to beat this other horse in the race, Momentum."


I SOUGHT out Toby Turrell, whose "Winners" is one of the top tout sheets at the track and available for $3, and when I told him about the wedding and asked him for his best tip of the day, he said, "Zeiss binoculars ... best lenses in the business and good for all sporting events or concerts."

OK, so I know what I'm going to get the mismatched couple for a wedding present, but what about the nag?

I got the impression Turrell thought I was talking about my wife and this business of selling her car, so I specifically mentioned the seventh race.

"I got Frankel's horse to win, although he'll have to beat Sigfreto and Magic Horn," said F.P. Turrell.


I SOUGHT out jockey Kent Desormeaux and told him he'd be getting the Pete Carroll/Mike Garrett/Steven Sample treatment today in the newspaper if he didn't ride that donkey of Frankel's like it was the Kentucky Derby.

"I feel good about it, although he's going to have to beat Learing At Kathy," Desormeaux said, and I kicked myself later for not asking him if he had graduated from USC.


NOW THAT I had all this inside information--making me so much smarter than the betting public who was trying to pick a winner from the six-horse field--all I had to do was determine if Frankel's horse could beat Momentum, Sigfreto, Magic Horn and Learing At Kathy. I sure wish Curtis Crayon was still picking winners for the paper--that would have allowed me to throw out his favorite.

I checked with Times' handicapper Bob Mieszerski, who picked Momentum to win, followed by Sigfreto, Learing At Kathy, Magic Horn and Mizzen Mast. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to talk to Frankel, so I wasn't surprised Mieszerski hadn't gotten the word from Frankel about how good his horse was.

I went to the betting window--looking at the crummy way most everyone is dressed at the track and feeling a little sorry for the poor slobs who don't have the chance to put the whip to a trainer and jockey before a race and get rich.

And I put a bundle down on Frankel's horse to finish first or second, Momentum to finish first or second and then completed the complicated trifecta wager with Sigfreto, Learing At Kathy or Magic Horn finishing third.

I must say, my logic and strategy in going for the big payoff--with all the inside information I had--made this highway robbery.

And I can tell you this, when Frankel's horse won with ease, followed by Momentum, I was almost the richest guy in the world. I just wish somebody would have mentioned Lookn East to me--the horse that finished third.

I'd like to say more, but I have to pick up my wife.


TRUE STORY. I had time to kill waiting for the seventh race, so I put $2 down on the pick six, selecting a winner in each race beginning with the third.

My choice in the third won--obviously I wasn't paying attention to Mieszerski's picks in the paper, and my selection in the fourth won. In the fifth, my pick placed second, but then the winner was disqualified, moving my horse to first and I was three for three. I won the sixth, and had Frankel's horse in the seventh--giving me five straight winners and needing only Revello to win in the eighth for me to tell Dwyre to take this job--and then I made the mistake of looking in the paper before the race only to discover Mieszerski picked Revello to win, which meant I had no shot.

Revello finished second.


TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Robert:

"I noticed the SIMERS & plaschke TV Show has lacked plaschke the last two weeks. What's up?"

I hadn't noticed he was missing.


T.J. Simers can be reached at

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