Larry King's Birthday

"The best day I ever had at the track... I'm dead broke. Station I was working at had just switched to ethnic. Hired all blacks -- and we were all let go at once. So I'm out of work. I have forty-eight dollars to my name.

"It's late May, and I'm paid up through the end of May rent. I got a daughter I'm trying to support. I'm divorced. It's 1972. I drive to Calder Track. I'm sitting there and it's the third face, and I look up at the horses. I see a house called Lady Flori. It's a filly running against males.

"Normally, fillies don't beat males. We're talking cheap horses. I look up at the board and she's 70 to 1. I look at the guy next to me and say, 'You know, this horse, three races back, won in more or less the same company. Why is she 10 to 1?' Guy says, 'Well, there's a few new horses out there.' I said, 'Yeah, but she should be like 20 to 1, not 70 to 1.'

"Screw it. I bet ten dollars on the horse to win. I keep looking at the horse, and the more I'm looking at this horse, the more I like it. So now I bet exactas. I bet it on top of every other horse and below every other horse: 11 over everybody and 11 under everybody. Now I've got a 'wheel'...

"Oh -- I'm wearing a Pierre Cardin Jean outfit without any pockets. The keys are in the car where the valet parked it. So I said, 'Wait a minute! I got four dollars left. I gotta give the valet two bucks. I've got my cigarettes, don't need money for that. You could also bet a trifecta.'

"So my birthday is Nov. 19. The horse is number 11, so I'll bet 11-1-9. Now I've got 11 on top, 11 on bottom, 11 to win, and I've got a Trifecta 11-1-9. I've got two dollars left to my name.

"Now the race begins. They break out of the gate, the 1 breaks on top, the 9 second, and the 11 is third. The 11 passes 9, and 11 passes the 1, and they run in a straight line all around the track. No question. The 11 wins by five lengths. The 1 is second ahead of the 9. So I've got every winning ticket.

"I got it to win. I got the exacta. I know the Trifecta. I collect $11,000. But I got no pockets, so I stuff all the money in my jacket. I don't know what to do with it. I run outta the track, the valet guy comes out and brings me the car. He says, 'Bad Day Mr. King?' I tip him fifty dollars, and he nearly faints."

["My child cupport was $100 a month, I sent $1200. My rent was 360 a month, I paid it for a year. I bought twenty cartons of cigs, stacked 'em up in my apartment. And that may have been the happiest moment of my life."]

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