Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Stakes Is High

Posted by evankessler on June 10, 2008

In all honesty, I had a hard time writing another post and I was considering never posting again after #600 because I was so happy with it. But alas, time rolls on and it’s time for another weekend recap. This weekend the mercury on most of the thermometers in New York City shot well past the 90 degree mark, which can only mean one thing…It’s summer! Gone are the days of dry air with the temperatures lingering somewhere between 70 and 79 degrees fahrenheit. This past weekend we went full swing into the sweating season. As a result, the activity meter registered on low for fear of breaking into excessive perspiration. That’s not to say it was a dull weekend…or really a relaxed one for that matter. There just wasn’t a whole lot of sprinting. Nonetheless a good deal of water was ingested.

With the dog days of summer on the horizon and an all day saturday activity planned, I decided Friday night should be taken easy. Rather than hit the Brooklyn bar scene I settled down with my roommates to take advantage of our large kitchen table and have what equated to a Union Street Family meal. Now, we could’ve gone all out and had a BBQ or prepared a fancy meal, but at the end of a busy work week most of us didn’t have food preparation in our hearts. So with little hesitation Laura B and Matt G ordered up some Thai Food from Song. We were joined by former Union Street resident Andrew M and new temporary resident roommate, the delightful Pippa.

Prior to the arrival of our Thai Food it was decided that we would be making Pina Coladas utilizing a Coconcut and Pineapple that had been sitting on our table for quite a few days now. The most difficult part of this operation was opening said coconut. For some reason we all thought it would be easier than it was…not that I would know how difficult it was from attempting to open it. The two ladies on hand tried their best to crack the solid shell of tropical island treat while we men did our part by sitting around and watching. Pippa and Bassett employed the use of screwdrivers and hammers and plenty of elbow grease. Meanwhile Andrew M, Matt G and sat around marveling at the task at hand.

Eventually the case was cracked by Pippa who then drained the juice only to have Bassett absent mindedly spill it out before the actual construction of said Pina Coladas began. We all took part in the removal of all of the coconut meat or whatever you call it, which was also somewhat of an intensively laborious undertaking. At any given moment someone would pry so hard that a shred of coconut meat would go flying across the room narrowly missing someone else working at the other end of the table.

Once the coconut meat was spearated it went into the blender with pineappe and some rum. Unfortunately, the end product was a little too thick for our liking and the ground up bits of coconut shell taht were still attached made drinking our Pina Colada’s someone unenjoyable due to the fact that they ended up being a fibrous melange of fruit bits in spite of their desired tropical island effect.

Aside from our mini-mixed drink misstep, dinner ended up being a wholly enjoyable affair complete with plenty of laughter, no tears, and plain ol’ good thai food. We called it a night rather early after that as everyone seemed to want to be in bed early. We all had our reasons. Some of us were simply tired and others had to get up early the next day. I was in the latter group as earlier in the evening I had agreed to go with my friend Janet the next morning to the third leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont Racetrack…The Belmont Stakes.

Saturday morning I awoke at around 9am. The plan was to meet Janet at 10:45am at Penn Station as we had been told that it was desirable to get to the racetrack around noon if we wanted to get a good place to stand for the event. I ended up getting to the train station a little bit late thanks to the 2-3 train’s bizarre weekend schedule. All of the effort expended though felt like it would be worth it if I could somehow manage to make it back from the racetrack a few dollars richer.

Janet and The Winning Ticket

When Janet and I arrived at Belmont, it was pretty apparent that the track was not prepared for the onslaught of people that were about to descend on it. For starters there were only three ATM’s for what amounted to probably 15,000 people hungry to lose their cash on multiple bets per race. I counted myself as one of these numbers. Before finding the ATM I decided to place my first bet. I put $5 on a 7-2 favorite in Commandeered on the first race. To tell the truth, I just liked the name. He sounded like a winner and before I knew it I was down $5. And towards the ATM line I went. As I was walking towards the lenghty ATM line with Janet, I ran into Katie F and her boyfriend Scott, who were dressed in their Saturday Best horse racing attire. That’s to say Katie was wearing a bonnet. We said we’d see them later and stood online for a good chunk of time. It was nearly time for the 2nd race and I wasn’t sure if I’d get money in time, so Janet went to bet on race 2. We decided to split the bet rather than both betting. I had a hunch that the #7 horse, Sixthirteen would win this one.

When I finally got to the front of the line the ATM was not reading my card. This was a problem since I pretty much had no more cash. With what must have been an embarrassed look I got off the ATM line and pondered my monetary possibilities. I decided to call my credit card company and make sure I had a pin # set so I could take out money using said card. But first…the 2nd race. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Sixthirteen was the winner. Helluva call if I do say so myself. I thought this would set a nice winning pace for the day and get me on a good luck streak.

After race 2 I went back to the lengthy ATM line where the 2 guys in back of me asked me jokingly to get out of the line because I was “blocking the view” of the two girls in front of me. I laughed it off and semi-befriended them to avoid any awkward obnoxiousness. I think they were a little drunk at this point, but I could see there point because the girls in front of me were very good looking. In fact, there were a lot of good looking girls at Belmont Park that day. A good majority of them looking their best for a day at the races and the potential of seeing a triple crown winner. Everywhere around you it was as if Sex and The City were premiering at the racetrack. Fancy outfits were abound. Anyway, I finally got to the ATM once again and after a little trouble was able to get some cash out, alleviating my monetary worries and allowing me to bet…and wouldn’t you know it…that’s just what I did on the third race.

Picking A Winner?

For that race I think I went with the 3 horse, Imperial Way, who unfortunately came in 10th. My luck did not continue. I placed a $5 wager on every bet leading up to the 11th race which was the actual Belmont Stakes, save for one. The closest I came to winning was in the 7th race where I made a last second decision between the 3 horse, Bit of Whimsy, and the 4 horse, Ventura. I went with Bit of Whimsy and wouldn’t you know it…Ventura won. My luck continued.

Perhaps Not

Aside from my run of bad luck there were some fun coincidences at the racetrack as I ran into my friend John C in the port-o-potty line and I also ran into my friend Mike from the VH1 days who was filming for a History Channel show at the track. Aside from that mostly everyone else I saw at the track was a douchebag fratmeister or sorority girl proudly pretending they were still in college. The type of dude who if you accidentally bumped into them would probably try to start a fight with you. I saw this happen a couple of times. I decided to rename the event the Bromont Stakes.

Apart from all of the idiocy and missed bets, the time for the historic event was drawing near. Janet and I made our way through the picnic area and found our way to a bench relatively close to the action that was being occupied by what seemed like a fraternity reunion, though they were nice enough to let us sit in their seats. They were too busy shotgunning beers and introduces themselves to other people by what college they went to. Janet and I sat with the hot sun beating heavily down on our bodies. The sweat began to trickle from our pores despite a lack of physical motion or activity. We sat in this spot for an hour…eagerly awaiting the prestigious third jewel in the triple crown.


It was around 6:30pm when it finally came. The crowd came to a swell. All of the folks wearing shirts alluding to Big Brown’s imminent victory were psyched to witnessing history. Then it happened…they were off. The #6 horse, the longshot Da’Tara led the entire way. I had put money down on #7, Tales of Ekati at 14-1. He was in 2nd most of the entire way…but in the end it was the long shot that won out and Big Brown had pulled up in last place. So much for history. Just because I was unlucky doesn’t mean everyone else was. Janet bet the longshot and hit on 38-1 odds. There was no reason for me not to have done that.

My Loser Horse

Longshot and Winner, Da’ Tara

Immediately after the race there was a crush of people trying to leave the event. There was no one directing traffic and people crowded the downstairs exits hoping to be able to make it to the trains and/or buses. It was more or less a swarm for the exit, which ws none too ideal in the 97 degree heat. There was little room to move and nowhere to go. Janet and I then fought our way back inside and headed for the upstairs exit where we were met with a much more favorable situation. Even then it took us about an hour until we finally made it to the train. It was apparent that this venue was not suited for the type of crowd they got this one day a year and they didn’t or couldn’t really prepare for it that well.

Luckily, when we got on the train we got the last two available seats and sat next to a lovely couple. I think their names were Marco and Liz, though I don’t think we shared our names. We chatted with them all the way to Jamaica station where we got off. I followed them to the Flatbush train platform and Janet left to get to the JMZ.

It was close to 9pm when I finally made it home to Brooklyn. I had a birthday party in Manhattan that evening at 10pm but I was completely exhausted from standing all day in the heat. Nonetheless, I decided I would venture out into Manhattan to enjoy a get together for my friend Lina’s turning of the age clock. After a shower I changed my clothes and headed for the city. At some point as I walked towards the subway, I began to feel a tad bit ill. However, as I stepped on the F platform at 7th Ave and 9th street I made an agreement with myself that if the train didn’t arrive in 5 minutes I would just go home. The train arrived right away and I took this as a sign that I should head into Manhattan. However, there were other signs that served as constant reminders not to go into the city…and those signs came from my aching tummy. I rode them out all the way to the 2nd avenue-houston stop hoping they’d go away but by the time I got there I just wasn’t feeling up to walking all the way to a bar only to decide that I should go home. I hopped right back on the subway and called it a night.

Sunday morning came easy. I felt better and I had no alcohol in my system, which is always a nice way to wake up. I had plans for brunch with my mom who showed up at 1pm with groceries for my future cooking endeavors. We then went out to Sette and had a nice brunch. It wasn’t necessarily remarkable or interesting. It was just a nice brunch and soon enough she was on her way.

I didn’t really have any other plans for the evening, but after returning home from a lengthy walk around the neighborhood it seemed that my roommates were getting ready to have a BBQ. Despite not being particularly starving , I was game for the event. Before you knew it burgers were on the grill, corn was being boiled and dinner was served. We decided not to roast outside in the heat while eating and went back inside to watch several episodes of Strangers with Candy before bringing the weekend to it’s merciful sweat-drenched conclusion.

Stay tuned for more tales from Sweatville, NY…as there are sure to be plenty more as the summer rolls on.


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