Back in his younger days, Grandpa had a strict rule: You don't get lunch at the racetrack until you win. But ever since the price of a hot dog at Fairmount Park dropped to a buck on Horse Hooky Tuesdays (during the live racing season in spring and summer), the old man's eased up a bit. It requires a full belly for him to properly explain his system for betting, and for you to properly comprehend. Gramps' "system," you see, has nothing to do with odds or history or anything printed in the Daily Racing Form and everything to do with intuition and superstition. Horses of Canadian origin: good. Horses who take a big dump just before the race: really good. (They're lighter.) Everything else: requires serious consideration and much chewing of the cigar and maybe a buck-fifty draft. And if the system fails to work (as it often does), it's due to extenuating circumstances, which requires more explanation and cigar-chewing and maybe another hot dog. If one of you hits a trifecta, you can splurge for the Top of the Turf in the clubhouse, with its ruinous $4 minimum. But up there Grandpa can't have his cigar, and neither of you can see the horses, not to mention the Bikini Beach Party, and, as Grandpa rightly points out, where's the fun in that?
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