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March 20, 2016 | by  | in Sports |
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Sports!—The TAB column

University is a perfect time for young adults to develop a financial interest in the more nefarious, governmentally endorsed side of our sporting past times. Course related costs could be doubled with a trip to your local TAB (Totalisator Agency Board). Why not go double or nothing with your minimum wage paycheck? The $10.00 left over after rent and a week’s worth of People’s Coffee could instantly become one more ‘required’ text for FINA 101.

A well-placed quinella should do it. How about ‘Boxachocolates’: Local who is resuming. Showed ability last time. Expect a bold run here. And ‘My Mustang Molly’: Came third Awapuni. Tried hard when runner up at Otaki. Can go one better. They seem worth a shout, and the italics seem inherently trustworthy.

For many of you, the trip will entail a drop in at Four Kings or the Cambridge Hotel. Betting at established pubs is preferable to stand alone TABs. For me, the trip was a tough Friday night at the Newtown TAB, attached to what was Zoo Bar, and is now Le Manaia Sports Bar (an interesting portmanteau).

Here, with fluorescent lighting, old TV screens, and overly air-conditioned atmosphere, one could be forgiven for believing they had already been institutionalised. Adding to such a belief was an odor hopefully coming from the carpet, more likely emanating from the leathered patrons, eyes glued to said screens across the oversized foyer.  

Before deciding to bet on ‘Boxachocolates’ and ‘My Mustang Molly’, I pondered the question of what to bet on for too long. Without going deep into game theory (see online: the New Yorker, “What Would Jesus Bet?”), the horses seemed an easy choice: pick a funny name with good odds. But now I’ve learnt that half of all racing horses experience esophageal bleeding, and 90% have “blood deeper in their lungs.” Ethically, then, the horses are out. Mustang Molly didn’t come through anyway. 

What about the dogs? We all know a moustached-and-balding uncle-type for tips on the dogs. But yet again, greyhound racing is illegal in 39 states in America, and in New Zealand euthanized dogs aren’t even recorded, on top of 176 injured dogs at one Auckland racetrack last year alone.

My betting is now in ethical disarray. At least Buck Shelford chose to play a sport where losing a testicle was a real risk. Go the ‘Canes….

 

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Newtown, between 1908-10. Photograph taken by Sydney Charles Smith. 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library. 1/1-019663-G

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