Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, my father and I were regulars in the grandstand at Suffolk Downs in Boston. Simulcasting was in its infancy, so on a Saturday and Sunday the seats would be full of horseplayers. One guy named Sid sold cheap watches and shoes that squeaked. Another known as The Wolf paced the promenade in a flourescent orange windbreaker that advertised his 1-800 number in bold black letters written on the back.
Then there was Longshot Al, who bet nothing but bombs. Longshot Al sat race after race, day after day and sometimes week after week, without ever cashing a ticket. But, in 1993, Longshot Al’s day was brightened when he had $10 on Arcangues who was booted home by jockey Jerry Bailey to win the Breeders Cup Classic at 133-to-1.
It was verified because my father saw Al cash the ticket for more than $1,300. On Sunday, my father was reminded of Longshot Al’s big score when he watched a video of the 1993 Breeders Cup Classic after the world learned this week that Arcangues died in 2006.
But even on the day of one of Longshot Al’s biggest scores, he still found a way to lose.
“It was good to see him cash the ticket,” my father wrote in an email. “But he got mugged when he got off the (subway train), as somebody followed him from the track. The last time I saw him, he was hurting from the neck from the mugging.”