Brendan Duke: A Gulfstream brace in the eternal race to break Even Steven

The tips are at the bottom, btw.

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This was meant to be a tipping piece about Gulfstream Park on Sunday. Unfortunately I know nothing about Gulfstream, nor am I totally sure what day it is. I do know a guy who follows U.S racing. He has kindly given me a couple of tips. They’re down below. I’ve never actually tested his skills with hard currency before. He talks a good game mind.

So instead of tips, I will use anecdotes for insight. Those of you who read to the end might ultimately decide that they are tenuous. You may both be right, though they’re no more tenuous than my grip on reality at the moment.

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Today’s anecdote will focus on ‘even Steven’. This is borrowed from a Seinfeld episode. You could do worse than re-watch that show in these dark times. Always good for a laugh, and there are plenty of truths there too. In that particular episode Jerry has an on again/off again relationship with $20.

Spoiler alert. He ends up as he started with $20 in his pocket, and declares himself ‘Even Steven’. He’s now a bazzilionaire so you could question that title. For these purposes, I will ignore his current financial position.

In life, and in gambling, I too consider myself something of an ‘Even Steven’. Win a few, lose a few. Basically ending up where I started. By way of illustration, this is the anecdotal part, here’s a tale from a relatively recent shopping expedition.

Gulfstream-Park-2

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Like many punters, I have a slightly distorted sense of value. My purchases are almost always based on price. Brand loyalty isn’t a thing. On my weekly shop I saw a bag of muesli reduced from €3.99 to €3.

Reductions of 25 per cent are catnip to value hunters.

Into the basket went the bag. Upon paying for my goods, I noted that the receipt said I had paid €3.99 for said muesli. Perhaps I had a winning day, perhaps I was tired. For whatever reason I decided not to query this discrepancy and toddled off home.

On my next shop the same reduction was showing on the muesli. What’s a value seeker to do? Surely the store wouldn’t do me dirty on consecutive weeks? Into the basket went the bag. Once again I was charged €3.99. Perhaps I had a losing day, perhaps I was feeling belligerent. For whatever reason, I went to customer service.

The guy at the desk was apologetic. He asked me to show him where the reduction sticker was. Unfortunately the cereal section couldn’t be further from the desk he was manning solo. As we wandered off I detected some frustration from those queuing behind me. The walk itself was something of a minefield. I mean, what’s the etiquette here?

German-Supermarket

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Do we walk beside one another? It’s my beef but his turf. In the end, he fell in a couple of paces behind me. Further complications arose when I realised the young fella lacked a bit of pace.

Time was of the essence. Those queuing customers were likely to be getting antsy. I did slightly temper my gallop along the meat counter and straight up frozen foods. He was probably off the bridle most of the way all the same. He saw the reduction sticker. Praise be. I had to have satisfaction if only for those left behind in the queue.

He studied the barcodes, looked puzzled, and apologised again. We wended our way back to the desk. There he explained that in cases like this the policy is to refund double the difference. He handed me my €2. In homage to winning medallists, I bit on it while casting a sideways glance down the now longer, long line, of disgruntled shoppers.

In hindsight this slightly gauche attempt to portray myself as a champion of consumer rights was a mistake. The lady who was first in line practically shoved me out of the way. Double the difference of course meant that I had effectively paid €3 for each bag. ‘Even Steven’.

The latest International racing odds are on PP.com now

You may ask why I devote so much time to what is in effect a zero sum game. Studying form, watching videos, travelling to the races. Couldn’t I use my time more productively? Almost certainly.

The thing is that I’m a man of simple pleasures.

Looking at horses, a punt on them, and the occasional spot of copulation are probably my three favourite things. At least two of those are regularly to be found at the track. If, in the end, I break even after a life of playing the great game that would surely rate a net win.

Anyway, to what you’re here for.

Gulfstream 20:04 Jeanie’s Angel @ 13/2 

Those that have run previously don’t set a particularly exacting standard in this maiden. The booking of Luis Saez for newcomer Jeanie’s Angel looks significant. He likely could have ridden one with obvious claims on form. This filly has shown plenty of speed in recorded workouts.

Gulfstream 22.13 Proven Strategies @ 3/1 

Looks a strong race for the grade. Front runners will likely be at an advantage. Proven Strategies fits the bill. He’s a prominent racer who has run well in top-level company.

*Prices correct at time of publishing but are subject to change

The latest International racing odds are on PP.com now