That is the opening line of one of the most famous pieces of American literature ever penned, Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It is the gripping story of Captain Ahab and his constant, fruitless pursuit of The Great White Whale, Moby Dick. Ismael ends up being the lone survivor of the quest of the Pequod at the end of the tale when The Great White Whale destroys the ship and Captain Ahab ends up lashed to the whale to meet his doom.
Well, dear reader, I have my own Moby Dick now. Yes, I am hapless Captain Ahab railing against the devastating force of The Great White Whale that has threatened to become an albatross around my neck. My Moby Dick is the 50-cent Pick Five wager at Turf Paradise, which I believe would double as the Pequod if the comparison is to go to the n-th degree. I have yet to hit this wager despite numerous attempts since its introduction at the start of this current season. I have gotten 4 of 5 I cannot tell you how many times, but of course, never one of those times that it actually pays 4 of 5 and creates a carryover.
My first effort to try and harpoon the whale came early in the season. As a matter of fact, it was the first time it had generated a significant carryover and I had secured the first four races in the sequence and faced a six-horse field, scratched down from a field of nine. I should mention that when I originally handicapped this particular race all the horses I initially would use in the wager ended up scratched, so I reconfigured the last leg before I placed the wager and ended up picking three of the six horses. In addition to the three I had used on my ticket, two of the three I didn't use were paying 4 of 5 for decent returns. My three selections were paying anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000, depending on who won. Of course, the one horse I did not include in the ticket or receive the 4 of 5 consolation from wound up winning the final leg of the Pick Five. I don't know if any of you have ever described to those listening over a public address system yourself NOT winning $3,500 (the amount the Pick Five paid to the horse that won), but I can assure you it is not a pleasant experience.
Since that day, as I have already mentioned, there have been numerous other encounters with near glory with 4 of 5 winners on my ticket. Today was the latest such occurrence. There was a carryover in excess of $7,000 in the Pick Five pool today, so I handicapped and put together a modest ticket using two horses in the first four legs and three in the final leg. This time, I was put out of my misery early as my third choice won the first leg and knocked me out right away. However, my top overall choice won three of the next four legs (including the leg I went three-deep in) and my second choice won the other leg. The Pick Five paid $2,488. Had I went three-deep in the first leg rather than the last leg, I have the winning ticket. Had I singled one of those three top choice winners and spread out in the first leg, I have the winning ticket. I ended up with three top choices, a second choice and a third choice winning and still managed to NOT hit the Pick Five. I am able to rationalize this myself, though, because in that first leg, I thought the two horses I did include in the wager stood out above the field more than the rest, so I am actually comfortable with the fact I didn't go three-deep.
So, dear reader, I am Captain Ahab, lashed to the side of The Great White Whale until the day comes that I finally exact sweet victory from these repeated tales of woe. To paraphrase from another piece of classic American literature, Gone With The Wind, "As God is my witness, I will cash the winning ticket on the Pick Five before the end of the season." I don't care if it pays $4.80 or $4,800, I will hit the Pick Five before Sunday, May 8.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!