By Mike Sullivan

I had a great time watching The Preakness on Saturday. Well, until the race finished the way it did. We’ll get to that shortly.

But horse racing parties are a fun time. I’ve just recently began to take more of an interest in the sport and went to both a Derby and a Preakness party this year. It’s definitely something that all sports fans need to experience. I mean there’s food, drinking, and gambling. What’s not to love!?

I was having a great time. The barbecue was awesome, the conversations with friends were great, and of course the alcohol was flowing beautifully.

I was excited for the race to begin. I hadn’t been doing very well on my other horse racing bets earlier in the day. They weren’t any huge bets, and quite frankly I hadn’t done much research on the horses I bet on. I wasn’t too worried about it. I was simply waiting for The Preakness to begin because I had put a lot of research into who I was going to bet on.

As I told you guys in my preview, there was no way I was going to bet on Always Dreaming. Talented horse, but trainer Todd Pletcher was 0-17 on Pimlico’s grass after a short two week rest time. For whatever reason, he doesn’t do a good job of getting horses recovered in a timely manner. Also jockey John Velazquez has never won a Preakness Stakes. He’s a tremendous jockey and is already in the Hall of Fame with $365 million career earnings, but he hasn’t been great at Pimlico.

Always Dreaming ran a magical Derby, but I was not going to pick him to win The Preakness.

Therefore, I turned by eyes towards Classic Empire. Arguably the most talented horse in the field. Empire never had a chance in the Derby. He was bumped right out of the gate and fell behind immediately. He could never recover from this poor start in the Derby, but he sure came close. Classic Empire made a late push and had a very strong finish to somehow finish 4th in The Derby. I figured if Classic Empire got out to just a decent start, he would finish well and jockey Julien Leparoux would close strongly and out race Always Dreaming.

I rolled with Classic Empire to win it. I did a $50 exacta bet on the 5 over 1, 2, 4. Meaning I needed Classic Empire to win and EITHER Always Dreaming, Cloud Computing or Multiplier to finish second.

The race started beautifully. It was a duel between Always Dreaming and Classic Empire for the first half of the race as everyone expected. But then Classic Empire started to pull away. I got excited. It was all Classic Empire down the stretch, until Cloud Computing started coming from behind. At one point just before they turned for home, it was Classic Empire ahead of the pack by a few lengths, followed by Cloud Computing and Always Dreaming.

I was in perfect shape! All I needed was Classic Empire to finish strong like he usually does and it didn’t matter if Cloud Computing or Always Dreaming finished second. I would win with either of them.

But nope. Cloud Computing and Javier Castellano came out of nowhere and started pressing Classic Empire down the stretch. Computing took the lead with just a few lengths to go and won by a nose. It was a borderline photo finish.

I was livid.

The race finished 2 over 5 by a hair. All I needed was Classic Empire to hold on and win the race to finish 5 over 2. I would’ve turned that $50 into around $700.

The frustration of betting on horse racing! Maybe I’ll have better luck at the Belmont Stakes.

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