Whiskey sez: This is the first of a multi-part series. How many parts? Dunno. As many as I can think up I suppose – up to about nine or so, given the usual length of a racing program at Santa Anita. Point is, keep an eye out and follow along.
RACE ONE: Maiden Claiming; Six Furlongs
The man stood. About five, maybe six rows ahead. Turned, “And three was the number on the saddle cloth,” he spoke with the clarity and authority of a preacher. “And the number on the saddle cloth was three!” His eyes bugged out. Long, unkempt gray mop of hair moved gently in the breeze.
Lucifestus was taken aback. He’d never seen the crazy man before and didn’t quite know what to make of him. But he’d spent the better part of five years on the East Coast, Aqueduct and Belmont mainly, with an occasional spring trip to Gulfstream. He’d hit Churchill Downs a couple times. It’d been at least that long since he’d as much as set foot in Santa Anita; obviously there had been some turnover in the cast of grandstand regulars.
Manifesting in his customary human form, a sort-of Tom Waits with a prodigious soul-patch, and sporting what he thought to be a snazzy fedora, Lucifestus the devil turned to Fat Rick, sitting in the same box seat and asked, “What the fuck?”
Fat Rick, one of the constants in the Santa Anita denizen line-up answered, “Oh, that’s the Revelator. I think his name’s actually Lloyd or something. But we call him the Revelator.” Fat Rick pointed at the now seated man with his rolled up program. “Says he has visions where he sees the outcome of some of the races. Not all of them, maybe two or three a day. But he doesn’t just say, ‘hey, I like the three here,’ he has to say it all, you know, revelator-like.”
“Interesting. I like it.”
“Yeah, it gets a little old, but sometimes it’s pretty amazing. You should have heard the one time where he tried to warn us all about an inside-rail bias on the turf course. He was shouting something about having ‘seen the beasts nearest the hot dog stand running like hobbled drunkards across a verdant expanse.’ Took us a while to unpack that one.”
Lucifestus asked, “Is he right?”
“Probably half the time, give or take. I’m gonna take a closer look at the three horse, for sure.”
“Well,” said Lucifestus, “these Maiden Claimer races are a crap-shoot anyways, so what the hell. Might as well throw the three, whatsis” looking at his program, “Shoots and Lathers, into an exacta wheel, or put him in the pick three, right?”
Silently, he wondered if the Revelator had already made a deal. A deal with one of Lucifestus’ fellow devils – always looking to trade some favor for a soul. He was too far away to tell if the Revelator still had a soul, but he’d check it out in a race or two. It was well known among the Underworld that degenerate gamblers were Lucifestus’ turf. He’d be a bit put out if this one had been poached from his sphere of influence. For now though, the devil known as Lucifestus took a deep breath and sat back enjoying the obvious benefit Santa Anita had over the New York tracks, January racing. In sunshine. Post time wasn’t for another fifteen minutes. He could relax a bit before heading up to the windows to bet the first race. It was good to be back in California.
© 2017 Whiskey Leavins