This One Was in the Grocery Bag All Along
The Breeders’ Cup demonstrated Saturday that no one knows anything about horse racing other than Alonso Aguirre, a waiter at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita who is also jockey Laffit Pincay’s brother.
You can take a real ugly monkey, or the Grocery Store Bagger for that matter, blindfold the beast and have the Bagger pull names out of a bag and he’s probably going to do just as well as your professional handicapper, trainer or jockey.
The only difference between using a monkey or the Bagger for picking winners, of course, is the Bagger is going to make a fuss and ask: Does this mean I have to get off the couch?
IT WAS very important that I had a successful day because I had $500 on the line in a wager to benefit the Mattel Hospital for Children at UCLA, so I asked all the experts at Wednesday’s post-selection breakfast for a hot tip, and Alonso put me on to Pleasantly Perfect in the Classic.
So I went to the horse’s trainer, Richard Mandella, told him about the sick kids and Alonso’s tip and asked about Pleasantly Perfect, and let me tell you, I would have learned more talking to the horse.
The newspapers might proclaim him “King Richard” today after winning four races, but when I talked to Mandella earlier, he was clueless.
I asked trainer Bobby Frankel about Mandella’s horse, and he said it had no shot. Trainer Bob Baffert concurred, and I should mention now that these two geniuses went 0 for 12 in the Breeders’ Cup, while Alonso went one for one.
I also went to the jockeys’ room, told Alex Solis about the wager, the sick kids and Alonso’s pick, and he steered me toward Minister Eric, his mount in the Juvenile.
So I stayed away from Perfect, took Minister Eric, and Eric finished second. Naturally, I went looking for Solis after the race, scolded him for letting the sick kids down and made it clear that I’d be giving him the same Page 2 treatment I give the Dodgers.
Solis, one for 45 in Breeders’ Cup races, then went out and won the next two.
“How much money do you want for the kids?” Solis asked after driving Pleasantly Perfect to a stirring Classic victory. I told him $500.
“Make it $1,000,” Solis said. “I’d like to donate $1,000 to the hospital.”
SOLIS, WHO should be the next local jockey to gain Hall of Fame recognition, won his 4,000th race Friday, and to complete the best 72 hours in his professional career, he’ll probably win the inaugural Bill Shoemaker Award today for the outstanding performance by a jockey in the Breeders’ Cup.
A few days earlier Solis had told me, “Everything hasn’t always gone my way, but it’s like I always tell my kids, do something with your life; don’t waste it.”
That’s nice, but I wasn’t interested in what he told his kids; I’ve got my own kids, the Bagger and their bills to pay. I was there to find out who was going to win. And he gave me Minister Eric.
I could’ve opened the morning newspaper and gotten the same thing from Times handicapper Bob Mieszerski, a.k.a., Misery, if I just wanted to lose my money.
WITH TWO Breeders’ Cup races remaining, TVG broadcaster “Lyons the Loser” had a 15-11 lead (10 points for a winner, five for second and three for third) in our charity wager. High Chaparral, a gutsy pick if I do say so myself, earned a dead-heat victory with a Solis horse, giving me the charity win. Just imagine what a loser Lyons would have been had I listened to Alonso and taken Pleasantly Perfect.
TVG will now donate $500 to the Mattel Hospital for Children at UCLA in addition to Solis’ $1,000 donation, and another $1,000 donation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. TVG is also kicking in $500 to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in the Loser’s name because it must justify putting on TV every day a horse racing analyst who doesn’t know anything.
If I were working at TVG, I’d hire Alonso.
IF YOU went with The Times’ pickers, betting $2 on each race, you would’ve won $12.20 using Misery’s selections. If you went with the Grocery Store Bagger, who picked blindly out of a bag, you’d have won $39.60.
CHUCK NORRIS and Judge Judy were sitting at the same table. Another “Law and Order” show in the making?
ESPN’S MARK Shapiro, the brains behind “Around the Horn,” has an ownership interest in Ten Most Wanted, who had trouble making it “Around the Track,” placing eighth in the Classic. If I hadn’t been fired earlier ... I would’ve now.
RAN INTO L.A. Police Chief William Bratton, a friend of Frank McCourt, the Boston guy who is buying the Dodgers. I asked Bratton whether McCourt is as cheap as they say he is. “He’s very smart with his money,” Bratton said, which tells me: Police Chief Confirms New Dodger Owner Cheap.
By the way, what would Bratton know about being smart with money? He said he spent $3,000 on tickets for friends to join him, which means he was $3,000 in the hole before putting a wager down.
ALSO BUMPED into Shannon Tweed and Bo Derek. What can I say, I’m a klutz. They tell me Tweed, a former Playboy model, is queen of the erotic thrillers. Someone said she’s also almost as old as the wife; I’m trying to picture the wife starring in an erotic thriller ... still trying ...
Derek was walking hand in hand with John Corbett, a.k.a., Aidan, Sarah Jessica Parker’s boyfriend on HBO’s “Sex and the City.” I don’t know: Bo Derek or Sarah Jessica Parker? I’d ask Misery, but I’m pretty sure he’d pick the wrong one.
T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com.