I don’t know if God has the time to pick winners and losers at the track – seems like he’s got a lot on his plate these days – but I decided to test out this theory by attending a fundraiser for Woodhaven’s School Sisters of Notre Dame at Belmont Racetrack.
I’d only been to the track once before, as a child, and my wife had never been. But we figured that fortune would shine down upon us if we placed our first ever bets while accompanied by a bunch of friendly nuns. And as it turned out, we were right.
Throughout most of the day, we didn’t lose too badly. Lose 10 here, win 5 there, lose 8 here, win 6 there, and so on. It was a lovely fundraiser, held at the Turf and Field Club with a nice view of the track and our own private betting window.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame do such good, valuable work in our community and make our world a better place, one student at a time. If you are not familiar with their work, the Sisters run an educational center for disadvantaged women. At the center the women earn their GED, they learn English, they learn skills they can use when applying for a job and, most importantly, they learn that they have a future.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center is located at 87th Street and 88th Avenue, across from St. Thomas the Apostle. If you know someone that could benefit from meeting the Sisters, or if you’d like to help out or support their cause, you can email ssndec@aol or call (718) 335-7759. This is a great example of something nice happening right here in Woodhaven and they deserve our support.
So, with all these good feelings in mind, it left me puzzled how I found myself $42 in the hole going in to the last race. My wife was doing well; she was up $12 and was only betting $10 in the last race so as to guarantee herself a winning day.
I needed a miracle. I scanned the entries in the ninth and final race, looking for a name to jump out at me. I was looking for a sign from above, a horse called “Nun of That” or “Good Habits” or something like that, but I had no such luck.
Earlier in the afternoon, Michael O’Kane, photographer for the Queens Ledger and Leader/Observer was explaining some of the things you needed to look for when betting on a horse. He’s at Belmont frequently for this paper’s “At The Track” feature and knows a thing or two about the ponies. He advised that the trainer is important and he pointed out one in particular, Todd Pletcher.
Sure enough, there was a horse trained by Mr. Pletcher in the last race called Path of Dreams. Not too long ago, I attended the graduation of students at the School Sister’s educational center and one recurring theme I heard over and over was how these women were finally getting a chance to live their dreams of a better life. And it was the Sisters themselves, our hosts for the day, that were leading them down that path.
Path of Dreams. Come on, if that isn’t a sign, then there’s no such thing. I don’t need to be hit on the head twice. It was running at about 7-to-1, so I put 20 bucks on Path of Dreams to win.
Well, she started off slow. And going in to the last turn, she was still near the back of the pack. But fate or karma or whatever kicked in, and Path of Dreams thundered past the rest of the horses and crossed the finish line in first. The $20 bet ended up paying out $150, proving that it does help when you have friends in high places!
In truth, we all ended up winners as we came together to support a wonderful cause. In life, if you place your bets on good people like the School Sisters of Notre Dame, you’ll always end up ahead.