Colorado Springs bettors gather for Triple Crown attempt

June 7, 2014 Updated: June 7, 2014 at 9:55 pm
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Tonalist, left, with Joel Rosario up edges out Commissioner with Javier Castellano up to win the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Moses Holloway typically looks for one thing in thoroughbred horses.

Nevermind each colt's gait or their pedigree - while betting on horses, Holloway wants something more concrete, more apt to win.

"I wait until the one that winks at me," said Holloway, letting out a laugh.

He got no love from Saturday's favorite.

The fourth-place finish of California Chrome at the Belmont Stakes knocked the wind of out a unique atmosphere at Post Time, on off-track betting venue where wagers mounted for and against the colt's Triple Crown bid.

Here, the prospect of history - the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years - was valued at $2, the price for the cheapest sentimental bet. Some people truly believed the colt could pull out another win after victories at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

Others bet on long shots, hoping for bigger payouts rather than a perfect run by the 4-5 favorite.

"Everyone wants him to win, but they're betting against him to get more money," said Bob Meyer of Colorado Springs.

That philosophy proved pervasive.

A line of bettors stretched out the door about noon - a rare sight at the venue. But a two-and-a-half hour computer glitch by the company's tote vendor proved "devastating" to the business' bottom line, said Donny Talton, who runs the franchise.

Charles Guy, 83, was among the roughly 50 people who remained for Saturday's main event.

He knew better than to get too excited - minutes before the gates opened, he said California Chrome would finish fourth.

"He almost lost the last time," he said, eschewing last-minute good-luck rituals for sheer logic. "My superstition is: He isn't going to win."

Edward Stone picked the California colt for old-time's sake. He watched the last three Triple Crowns winners while living in Manhattan during the 1970s - memories he recalled with vivid detail Saturday.

But Stone shook his head after California Chrome's loss.

"He was no Secretariat, he was no Seattle Slew and he was no Affirmed," Stone said.

And maybe that is why the prophetic few that called Saturday's results still spoke with a sense of sadness, of opportunity lost.

Predicting an upset, it seems, might be easier than winning it all.

"It's a big letdown," Stone said.

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