Dad Bets the Kentucky Derby

At Kentucky Derby Time, I think of this story.

Some years ago, Diane and I were invited to the Kentucky Derby, a marvelous event that is near indescribable.

The enthusiasm of the crowd, the loyalty of the Kentuckians, mint juleps everywhere, the pageantry, the socializing, the hats, the majesty of the horses, the bravery and skill of the jockeys… it has all been written, and I cannot do it more justice than has already been written.

I must tell the story of my Dad, who in his way was a loyal Kentucky Derbian because he faithfully watched the race on television every year. He was a fan, not because he was a gambler, but because he loved Seabiscuit



and remembered the days of the Narragansett Race Track

Narragansett Track

Narragansett Track

He was thrilled to hear that I was to attend the Derby.

“Edward, bet the number four horse for me. Four is my favorite number, and I have a hunch this year.”

“OK, how much do you want me to bet?”

“Twenty dollars will be fine. Put it on the four horse to win.”


There were a number of races before the Derby, and in one race, I actually won three hundred dollars on a lucky bet because Diane liked the name of the horse.

Finally, with its pomp, circumstance and emotion, the Derby time came.

Down to the grandstand I went, standing in line for longer than I thought I should have… eager anxiety I guess, to bet the four horse. I bet twenty for dad, twenty for me. I could not ignore his hunch.

When I returned to the seat with my tickets, I looked at the odds on the four horse… 20 to 1!

‘This is it, Diane. Our chance to win big on Dad’s hunch.”

The bell. They’re off.  “Go four, go four!”

The four horse got a bad start, last place and stayed there for the entire race, not even close.

I saw Dad a few days later.

“How did that horse do? I was looking for him on TV, but never saw him.”

“Dad, you never saw him because he started last and ran that way for the entire race. Never had a chance.”

“The bum.”

© 2017

By | 2017-07-10T16:10:04+00:00 May 8th, 2017|Humor|16 Comments


  1. Mike Montigny May 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Great story Ed
    Sandy wants to put The Derby on our bucket list.
    I learned how to bet on horses at an early age.
    My father tended bar and took bets for a Bookie. He always knew the odds on each horse. I thought he just had a good memory.

    • Ed May 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      You must go, Mike. It is an event that is exciting and near indescribable.

  2. Bob Conroy May 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Great story Ed derby is still the biggest race of the year
    saturdays race had 149,000 people at it. too bad i did not
    have the winner. I read Mikes comment I remember when
    almost all bars had someone that took bets.
    Bob Conroy

    • Ed May 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Yes, I remember that also, Bob. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. frank joly May 8, 2017 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Dr. Ed!

    • Ed May 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Frank. He was fun.

  4. Pat Neri May 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Ed, I loved your story! And, I love watching the Kentucky Derby. I will think of your Dad and your great story when watching the Derby each year!

  5. Natalie McKenna May 9, 2017 at 1:50 am - Reply

    That gave me a chuckle! Love your father!

  6. Saul Fern May 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply


    Did you share any of the $300 you won with your Dad and or Diane??

    • Ed May 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Not with Dad. Hmmm…

  7. Jack Coletti May 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I have a racing story. When I was in college I had a summer job as a guard at Lincoln Downs. One evening a fellow employee told me to bet on a certain horse. Couldn’t lose. The fix was on. So I placed a modest bet, after all he could’t lose. The fix was on. I don’t remember where he finished but it was certainly out of the money

    • Ed May 29, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Ahhh, the tip… the bane of many horse lovers.

  8. peter voccio jr. May 29, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Narragansett Park
    I had a friend who worked the admission gate he would let me in free.
    All I had to do was pay to get out

    • Ed May 30, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Funny. Yes, betting made you pay.

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