Saturday, November 3, 2012

Deer Creek Gene

The first thing my first boyfriend Scott and I did together after we'd broken up and didn't speak for a while, then went to a Nirvana concert, then regrettably slept together one more time, then didn't speak for a while again, was go to the horse races. He seemed really into it, which surprised me because in the two years we were a couple he'd never once mentioned an interest in going to the track. I've since learned that people can change drastically after a difficult breakup.

Scott gave me a quick tutorial on how we would be betting, something involving choosing three different horses, and they had to all come in together. He told me which were the 'sure thing' horses, and instructed me to put my money on them. Ignoring all of the numbers in the program, I picked the two names I liked best out of the three he'd suggested, then chose a completely different third horse: Deer Creek Gene.

"You can't pick Deer Creek Gene," Scott told me. "Look at his stats! He's like, last. Don't do that one."

But I knew what I was doing. "Deer Creek Gene is totally going to win, shut up," I replied.

What Scott seemed to be forgetting was that my dad's name is Gene. And for every summer since I'd been 14, Gene had taken me and a few of my siblings to the Deer Creek Music Center in Indiana to see the Grateful Dead. Duh! Of course Deer Creek Gene would win! It was so obvious I almost got a headache from trying to explain all of this to Scott, while he in turn tried to explain the numbers, pointing to them over and over again and getting frustrated at me for refusing to acknowledge them.

When the race began, everyone stood and cheered for their picks. Only one person was rooting for poor Deer Creek Gene - me. Slowly people began throwing their tickets to the ground and sitting back down in a huff as their horses lagged too far behind to recover. My two 'sure thing' horses kept up a good pace while Deer Creek Gene stayed near the back. Scott elbowed me and laughed at my stupidity. I kept cheering on my choice.  As the horses began to round the last curve, one of the sure things began to slow down - several people groaned and shouted "Nooo!"

Do I even need to tell you what happened next? Deer Creek Gene, from six horses behind, started hauling ass and one by one, passed all of the other horses. The crowd, literally, went wild. Men were biting hats, women were pulling their hair, everyone was wide-eyed with insanity at the nerve of this animal with no reputable stats to speak of. I woo-hooed for Deer Creek Gene with all my might, jumping up and down, laughing and feeling mighty smug. The collective disappointment of the arena as my horse nosed his way into second place behind the second of my sure things was one of the most satisfying sounds I'd ever heard.

I didn't win big money that day, what with my other guaranteed winner turning out to be a burned-out loser. But what I didn't walk away with monetarily, I made up for in 'I Told You So' rights for years to come. It was a beautiful day at the races.

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