They say numbers don’t lie…but in the Thoroughbred game, they are not always the answer. Handicapping horse races can be a rather enjoyable activity. Everybody has their different formulas. Numbers crunching can be a good way to understand just how well a horse has done recently, but if ciphering numbers were a foolproof way to pick winners, this hillbilly would wear flip-flops to the track. The great thing about the sport is you just NEVER know.  That is why one of my favorite ways to make selections is simply the hunch bet. You look over the entries and a horse strikes your fancy for some reason. For me it is usually the name. As a believer in the omens of horse racing in relationship to life, nothing gives greater satisfaction than cashing a ticket off some sentiment. Here is a true story to prove it.

  The January 11 card at Santa Anita had it’s share of opportunities for the speculating man. Nine races on a Friday meant you had a chance to cash and feel good about yourself heading into the weekend. A winning ticket is good in any race, but if you have one in the last race it means you finish on a good note. That’s why after serious calculations had left me just shy of breaking even, the final run of the day looked oh so promising.

  My daughter is certainly a chocolate chip cookie in my life. A fine young lady, she usually brings a smile to my face. Breaking from post one in a maiden race for three-year old fillies on the downhill turf course at The Great Race Place was one of those slam dunk gotta bet horses. She’s a Brewer had raced once before and finished 7th at Del Mar. Numbers said she would not win here. Yes her trainer Phil D’Amato is a bright young mind and jockey Flavian Prat wins a lot on turf, but otherwise… I forgot about calculating and kept my shoes on. Thinking of my dear and blossoming daughter, this was the one that would allow me to close the day a winner… I hoped. If nothing else, it made me happy to toss a ticket at the namesake.

  Rolling out the gates from her inside post and running on a contested lead, She’s a Brewer bolted down the hill at Santa Anita locked in a tight battle with Bella Chica. As this daughter of Milwaukee Brew fought her way towards the finish, even if she didn’t win, she was doing our family name proud. In the final strides, my hunch got up by a half length and sent me home a winner. The win did provide a proud $13.80 return on my $2 investment, but you couldn’t put a real price tag on this one. Same as most hunch bets, it was worth way more to know I was right about something. Especially when you consider the source of the hunch!