Pens and Ponies at the Park

The freshly-cut grass. The majestic thoroughbreds thundering down the stretch as the crowd cheers. The smell of fired-up charcoal and Grandpa's cigar. It's racing season.

While the kids can enjoy the ponies and ice cream, the adults indulge in a bet or two...or three or four. To make an "educated" decision, we buy a racing program that shows all the participating horses on the slate, the jockeys riding them, their colors, numbers, weight, age, parents and prior racing history, etc. With so many attributes to evaluate your pick, how can one make any sense of it?

Instead of forking over the additional 50 cents to buy the half-size pencil along with the program, bring along a multi-function pen. I picked my Parker Executive to assist me with picking the winners. The black ballpoint can be for jotting down possible picks, exacta and trifecta combinations. The blue ballpoint can be for correcting ill-advised picks or marking down what your significant other picked. The hi-liter can mark the handicapper's picks or cross out the scratches for later races. Finally, the mechanical pencil, well... can be the pencil. Make notes, erase them or draw pictures of horsies while you're waiting for the next race to start.

How did I do? Not very good. Lost every race. I know, not a shining endorsement my system, but it did work for some of the friends we went with.

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