Horse Pickers


These two steely-eyed young women turned out to be pretty amazing at picking winners during a trip to the horse races at Del Mar.  The two grand girls are visiting for a week while  Mom and Dad are relaxing on a much-needed adult getaway so Kongo got to play.  Mrs. Kongo provided the fashion accessories.

Five and six year olds have interesting memory aberrations.  For example, if you’re talking to them about picking up their clutter before moving on to the next project, picking up things will have a half-life of about 90 seconds.  Future referrals to this compact will result in,”huh?” accompanied by faraway looks and cute little shoulder shrugs.  On the other hand, if you happen to mention say, “miniature golf” in a passing sentence,  steel trap minds will bring it up at every possible remote opportunity.  So when you put them in the car to run a quick errand you get, “Are we going to go play miniature golf now?  Pleeeaaasssseee!”  Like that.

Anyway Del Mar was mentioned days ago and yesterday we were finally off to the races.  Both girls love horses so they enjoyed watching the pre-race walkabouts in the paddock and then off to the field to see the actual race, hear the thundering hoofs, and listen to the crowds roar.

And they picked horses.  They picked winning horses.  It was kind of like Tom Cruise taking Dustin Hoffman to the Las Vegas casino in Rainman except Kongo wasn’t shelling out nearly the kinds of bets that Tom Cruise did.  A $2 bet is about as racy as Kongo goes.  We got to the races in time to place bets on Races 3 through 7 and they picked winners five out of five times.  Kongo’s horses came in dead last in most races except for one long shot where he picked “Wildling” in honor of the girls who were bouncing off an ice cream sugar high and hit a 10:1 winner that came in first although he only bet him to show.  Shoot.


In those cute little designer purses Mrs. Kongo accessorized them with they each had a little notebook, a pen, and the Del Mar racing schedule.  They would sit down at a picnic table in mid-field, study the racing forms, and circle the horses they wanted Mrs. Kongo to place bets on.

In race three they picked “Sky Heart” who came in second.  In race four it was “Compulsive.”  Same thing.  Race Five was “Little Tower” because it reminded them of Little Pony videos they like to watch and in Race Six it was “Tribal Jewel” all the way who came in first.

Naturally, they were going for “Prettyhotprincess” in the Seventh but the filly got scratched so we decided it was time to fight traffic and head for the barn.  Or stable.  Anyway we left.

Kongo explained all the little nuances about picking horses and showed them how to find their number in the book, what kind of race they were running, how old the horse was, where it came from, and what its colors were.  When the monkey asked them how they picked the winners the youngest replied, “I just pick the names I like,” and since she’s a reader at 5 and pre-K at that she had her pick of colorful names.

That’s probably as good a system as any and it worked yesterday.  You’re not going to bankroll a college fund placing $2 bets to show but we pretty much were able to fund parking and ice cream and French fries and lemonade from the winnings.  Thank you “Wildling.”

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So the week is winding down after they two little angels had manicures and pedicures from Mrs. Kongo’s salon, a trip to the Zoo to see Kongo’s friends and ride the Skyfari gondola, horse racing, and (yup, you guessed it) miniature golf.  In between there was about 40 hours of pool swimming where Kongo refereed heated battles between giant floating turtles and alligators, super soaker assassination attempts, and cannonball dives off the spa enclosure.

Naturally it was a full work week for Kongo so the monkey was up at 5 AM everyday to get caught up to make time for lifeguard duty.

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Travel safe.  Have fun.

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