28 May 2008

A Night At The Races

The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore hosted a Tex-Mex night earlier in May at the Singapore Turf Club. The island's race course is in Kranji, within sight of the causeway across the Straits of Johor that connects Singapore with Malaysia.

The event celebrated Cinco de Mayo (I think Americans celebrate this with more fervor than Mexicans). Cafe Iguana, a local restaurant, catered the Tex-Mex food, and we were scheduled to receive a visit by officials from the Mexican consulate, although I don't think they ever showed. The consulate did provide the festive decorations.

The event also showcased the Turf Club, which is a very nice facility (especially our huge enclosed luxury suite and a good venue to watch the races). I don't know how the horses run in this weather, but they do.

The betting is slightly different than what I am used to. Win bets are the same - your horse must come in first. Place bets are the same as Show bets in the States, however - you win if your horse comes in first, second, or third. There is no second place bet. There are other bets similar to those with which I am familiar, although named differently: a Quinella in the States is a Forecast here, and a Trifecta is a Tierce. You can even bet Even/Odd, winning if you picked correctly the parity of the horse's number.

Without doing much homework, I picked Daring Dame in the first race, and she came in a winner (well, second, but I had her in Win and Place bets). That emboldened me, and I raised my bets and took on longer odds. Perhaps partaking in the Cinco de Mayo celebrations assisted here. In any event, I did okay, down a little, but - as usual - I was THIS close in two races to having a very big payday.

All in all, it was a fun night. The Turf Club is one of the nicest tracks I have visited. Just the week after the event, it hosted the Singapore Airlines International Cup and the KrisFlyer International Sprint, two of the region's biggest races of the year. I wasn't able to attend, however, as I was in Taiwan.

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