Well folks, the Saratoga season is in full swing.  And maybe you're wondering what it's like to be a gambler up at the famous Saratoga Race Course?  It's a little hard to put into words, but I certainly wanted to try.  I spent a day recording my thoughts before, during and after post time - Star Trek Captain's log style. So here we go, this is Talking Track: The Novice's Guide to the Saratoga Race Course.

Gambler's Log: 12:58 - I've just arrived at the Saratoga Race Course.  It's a strange mix of dresses, jean shorts, cigars and Keystone Light.  A mysterious cooler malfunction has me running late.  Luckily, pseudo degenerate gambler that I am, I caught some OTB before I left the house.  Just inside the gate, I've made my bet and am walking to the rail.  Here we go, baby!  Post time and party time!

1:02 - Down $10!  Bad Start.  Let's hope this doesn't become a trend.  Back to the chairs to handicap a bit.

1:22 - Loving the 1, 2 8 and 9 in race two, but there's only 9 horses in the race.  Never the best strategy to love almost half the field, but I'm doing it anyway!

1:26 - Just made my bet.  The woman working the machine, loved it.  LOVED IT!  Let's hope she's right.  Here we go!

1:30 - BOOM!  WINNER!  I LOVE THAT WOMAN!  I think we had a real connection.

1:31 - Ok. It was only a ten dollar winner...but it's something, feeling good!

1:54 - Bet time for race number three.  I like the 3 and the 5, good workouts, great races, great results.  I also love the nine.  Why the 9?  Not a clue.  It might just be that steeley-eyed gaze, that look of a champion he shot me.  Letting it ride on the 9!

1:59  - Ahhh!  The 3 won it, but the five was beaten out for second.  So close!

2:00 - Aaaaaand the 9 just finished.  Well...that confidence was seriously misplaced.  Sigh.  Down $14 on the day.  Time to rally!

2:18 - Having trouble figuring out who to bet.  I'm loving all of them.  Man this is hard!  And I'm supposed to be in the know.

2:28 - At the post for the 4th race.  I'm betting a superfecta because I can't really decide.  Also made it rain on the 4 based on looks.  Let's see what happens.

2:32 - BOOYAH GRANDMA!  HIT THE SUPER!  $52 winner for a ten cent bet.  Back on top, Johnny...well, at least I am (Will Ferrell as Goulet? Anyone?).  By the way.  Forget the 4.  That was stupid.  I've really got to stop thinking I know what a good horse looks like.

2:47 - Honing in on a bet.  Tough race, there's a lot of quality here, but I'm looking through the book and eliminating horses one by one.

2:53 - Made my bet in the fifth, trifecta box for the 1-2-5.  Walking to the rail as we speak...love the sundresses, by the way.

2:54 - No!  Tom Durkin just announced: "Quarter inch bends on the 5!"  My whole bet is ruined!  RUINED! ... Alright, I may be overselling, not exactly sure what that means.  Anyone on quarter inch bends?  You know what though, I'm sure there's a guy at the course right now who actually just ripped up his ticket because of the quarter inch bends.  I want to be that guy.

3:00 - Lost it all that race.  Those junk quarter inch bends cost me.  I knew they were bad news.

4:16 - I've now lost all track of time and space.  I'm drunk on gambling power and haven't recorded anything for the past hour and fifteen minutes. Anyway, haven't won a bet since the fourth, things are slowly moving downhill.  Unsure what race we're on.  Must.  Press. On.

4:20 - Alright, a Little Sabrett and I've got my second wind.  The 6 and 7 horses will dominate the eighth race.  How do I know?  Well, they're both even money, so that's a pretty good indication.  Here we go, wheel 'em with the field.  WHEEL 'EM!  I'M ON TILT NOW, BABY! MAN THIS IS EXCITING! I LOVE THE TRACK!

4:23 - I HATE THE TRACK!  How can you be an even money favorite and finish fourth?!  How are you going to do that?! COME ON!

4:58 - A $52 winner on the day and I'm even.  Not ideal.  But still better than going to see the Mets.  In fact, this is amazing fun.  Alright, time to end strong.

4:59 - I've decided to bet the 2, 5 and 6 in the 9th - Not happy to leave out the 7, though.  I want to include him, but I've got to draw the line somewhere...Let's hope that that doesn't come back to bite me.

5:02.  Yip.  Came back to bite me.  Man, that's rough.  It's like not boxing an exacta and being beaten out by a nose...So painful.

5:25 - Not going to lie, I'm a little demoralized, but I've found that last race special deal, he's a 70-1 shot.  Got to make that paper!  Let it ride! ... I'm also betting two horses that I actually have a reason to like.

5:34 - They're coming down the stretch, the 70-1 is on the lead!  Here we go!  Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!  Come on!

5:35 - Did the jockey just fall off the horse?!  DID THE JOCKEY JUST FALL OFF THE HORSE?!

5:36 - Ahh!  Alive until the end, but ultimately I am smote.  I'm down on the day, but I've got some winnings in my pocket.  And hey, good company, good food, great racing, great day.  Another special day at the Saratoga Race Course...Damn quarter inch bends.

Well, ladies and gentlemen.  That's my look into the day of a gambler at the Saratoga Race Course.  Look for the upcoming editions of Talking Track in which we'll take a hard look at how you should bet the odds.  Also, look for upcoming articles on two of the biggest stakes races in the Saratoga season - the Alabama on August 20th, and the Travers on August 27th and be sure to check out the past articles of Talking Track listed below.  See you at the Spa!