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1987 Gambling trip. - General Discussion - Stop and Step

1987 Gambling trip.


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It's 1987, I was 30 years old, just got divorced and I was a bit fed up and feeling sorry for myself. I thought I'd treat myself to a holiday. Also that year Miesque was establishing herself as the champion miler in Europe and was due to run in the Breeders Cup mile In November. I was convinced that she was a certainty for that race and I also knew that if I went to the Breeders cup I would get better odds there than here in England. For those that don't know, The Breeders Cup is a horse race meeting that takes place In America, at a different venue every year where the best horses from all over the world come together to race against each other at all distances from sprint races to middle distance. The card normally consists of 8 races with prize money ranging from $1 million to $5 million for each race. 

So I sent off my application to the USA embassy for my visa. A couple of weeks later I got my reply through the post, DENIED. I couldn't believe it, I've no criminal record, don't do drugs, nothing?? Even worse, I had paid for my flight and hotel for California, "that years Breeders Cup was at Hollywood Park". I wrote to the embassy asking why they denied my visa application, explaining I had a business here in the UK and property, I wasn't going to lose myself in the US, I just wanted a racing holiday. Two weeks later another letter, visa granted, no explanation, nothing, and the visa was indefinite, which lasted for 10 years I assume?? So November came and off I went, on my own to the USA. 

On arrival at the hotel, "Marriott, Culver City" I checked in, got my key, went up to my room and as I walked in I saw a suitcase on the bed and a naked woman came walking from the bathroom. She screamed, all bloody hell broke lose, security guard, you name it. They gave me the "WRONG KEY" at the check in, they were all apologies and I got an upgrade for my two week stay as a goodwill gesture, "result." In the evening I went to the hotel bar, ordered a Bushmills, minding my own business, a guy comes up to me and says "were you on the flight from England?" I told him yes and he asked me if I came on my own, again I told him yes. He turned to a bunch of guys and said "I told you he was on his own" and they invited me to join them. They all said how they admired the fact that I should make the trip by myself, it never bothered me, I can make friends anywhere. I'll talk to anyone if they're prepared to listen 😁

I arranged to meet them the following morning. They all went up to their rooms and I stayed for another drink. I got talking to an American girl who was there for a seminar, we had a couple of drinks then went up to my room, double result, am I having a f*****g good day or what? 😁😁

Next morning I asked at the desk where the nearest shopping centre and bars were, the girl said it was a mile or so away, it was a nice day so I decided to walk. I got about 300 yards down the road and woo woo woo, the police pulled up and asked me what I was up to, I said I was walking to the shops. Get a cab was the reply, nobody walks here, that's when I looked around and realised how deserted it was. The cop hailed a cab for me and I said thanks and went on my way. The shops were awesome in Hollywood, I went into a pet shop and I'm telling you I could have bought a flea or a baby white rhino, mental. I went to a bar, had a beer and played pool against a couple of lads, they were taking the piss out of my accent and when I said please to the barman, they were spoiling for fisticuffs. I discreetly asked the barman to call me a cab and when it arrived I slipped out, unscathed. The day of the races and I went off with the guys I met. When we got there our seats were in the Cary Grant pavilion. As we went through the doors there was a right to do going on, with the entrance fee, unbeknown to us you get a free pullover with the Breeders Cup logo on it. People were shouting out their orders of what size and colour they wanted but it was hopeless, they were six deep at the counter. We were a party of 8 so I said to the lads tell me what size and what colour pullover you want, and I wrote them all down on a piece of paper. I jumped up on the counter, two fingers in my mouth and gave the loudest whistle, the assistent looked right at me, his mouth wide open. I said right mate, 1 blue XL 1 grey L 1 burgundy medium, anyway you get the picture, within 30 seconds I had 8 pullovers, all to order and we were on our way, job done. I explained to the guys I used to work at the market at Weekends when I was a kid.

I needed the loo, so I nipped in, but when I came out I couldn't find the guys, it's a massive place with lots of floors and escalators. I was looking around, a bit bemused and looking lost, I was wearing a beautiful black suit and a tie and I was surprised how many people were casually dressed at such a up market race meeting. Then a guy comes up to me, he's got a Breeders Cup security badge hanging round his neck on one of those ribbons?? He says to me "are you with the party sir" I replied yes, but I seemed to have lost them. He said this way sir and he ushered me into a plush dining room and bar, it was something alse, the walls were glass and you could see all around and out to the track. At the bar I was getting a drink and as I looked around I was in awe. There was Robert Wagner, Joan Collins just loads of big stars and famous people. A guy starts making conversation with me, as I'm talking he says oh your English, what part are you from, I told him I was from London and he says oh I know it well. I'm talking to f*****g Walter Matthau, unbelievable. After 20 minutes the usher comes back and says I'm very sorry sir I've brought you too the wrong place, I thought you were with the VIP party the way you were dressed and your accent. I've got Walter Matthau saying ahh let him stay, he can be my guest, it was unreal. Anyway I left and found the others at our designated seats, no film stars there, no, I was sat next to Jimmy Connors, and what a scruffy bastard, he was wearing shorts and sandals, a tee shirt and a leather bomber jacket. I was sat next to him for over 4 hours and he never said a word to me. 

I backed Miesque in the mile race, I had $1000 win at 7/2, you could only get 2/1 in the UK. she duly obliged, "she won the same race the following year too" $4500 returns. Paid for the whole trip. I had an amazing 2 weeks, never in a million years would I ever want to live there but its a fantastic place to visit. My only regret was not taking the opportunity of a round trip to Vegas for 2 days, I should have gone, it was so cheap, maybe another time before I'm too old. So many crazy escapades on that trip but it would take a week to write it all. I'm just one of those people that mad things happen to all the time.

No matter where you are in the world and no matter what the situation, always be polite and well mannered and stay calm and keep a smile on your face and you'll find yourself in all kinds of mostly nice circumstances. 


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