It was a beautiful Friday morning at the Santa Anita racetrack.
Here in La Cañada Flintridge, an annual trip to Santa Anita to watch the thoroughbreds is an essential event.
There I was. I picked the first horse simply for its name. The horse, a 4-year-old filly, was the third horse in the third race. Her name, appropriately, was Too Many Tomatoes. That night, I planned to attend a lecture for Tomatomania at Descanso Gardens (See “Around Town: Just crazy about tomatoes” Valley Sun April 4). That's why the name caught my eye.
All around me were smart people, mostly men, with handicapper's sheets, daily racing forms and calculators. The buffet was going strong, there were chocolate desserts and ladies with hats.
I had second thoughts. Would it be it prudent to wager money based on a name? Shouldn't I do some research?
Nah. I placed my $2 on Too Many Tomatoes and returned to my seat.
The race was on the inside turf, or grass. The course was one mile long. At first, Too Many Tomatoes hung back. She was the very last horse in the race. I grew pessimistic. My dream of cashing in on my bet seemed unattainable, until the last quarter mile. That's when she began to make a run on the outside. The jockey seemed to know what he was doing.
Still, I felt pessimistic. She'll never make it, I thought. Too little, too late. There goes my money.
I was wrong. Too Many Tomatoes not only caught up, she passed the entire pack.
The jockey looked fantastic.
As I waited in line to pick up my cash, I re-read the program. Time to reinvest the winnings. I noticed that the same jockey would ride in the next race, wearing a Superman shirt. Fashion is a sound basis for a wager, despite this horse's questionable moniker.
I put $6 (“boxed”) for Bikini Bottom to place either first, second or third. As an afterthought, I put some money on a “rolling pick three.” I bet that the same jockey would win the next three races. How could he lose, dressed as Superman?
Within the hour, I became Kevin Krigger's biggest fan. Kevin Krigger, the jockey, won all his races that day.
Who is Kevin Krigger? If you live in La Cañada Flintridge, a stone's throw from Santa Anita, a with less than a month to go until the Kentucky Derby, and still don't know the answer, then shame on you. Kevin Krigger came to the U.S. from the Virgin Islands in 2011, at the age of 18, with the goal of winning the Kentucky Derby.
Sometimes, dreams do come true. On April 6, the day after our expedition to Santa Anita Park, Krigger rode a horse named Goldencents to victory in the Santa Anita Derby, thus qualifying the horse to ride in the next Kentucky Derby. Goldencents' trainer, Doug O'Neil, says that his jockey will be Kevin Krigger.
We'll be watching!
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @anitabrenner.