Turkeys & Trifectas

This Thanksgiving break Bilotti had a problem: his family’s continued hatred. Although Chiappini’s family also hates Bilotti, they are closer

This Thanksgiving break Bilotti had a problem: his family’s continued hatred. Although Chiappini’s family also hates Bilotti, they are closer to Harvard and don’t know about his pending arraignment for smuggling penguins (or was it people?) and thus Bilotti was welcomed into their house for the long weekend. So Prestige and Mobility chartered a train on Boston’s historic “Red Line” to Quincy Adams where a private car awaited to bring us to Chiappini manor. [1]

After settling into our deluxe accommodations, we told the concierge of our night’s plans, and she replied, “Vinnie, stay away from That Murdering Place!” But our concierge be damned! Four dollar pitchers were too appealing to deter us from the dive bar that was actually the scene of a homicide two years ago. Chiappini had expected to introduce Bilotti to Bridgewater’s high-class escorts and sophisticated tycoons—or at least high school randos. Yet we only found old-fashioned randos, belting out “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” to seduce desperate chicks.

Unperturbed, Chiappini sought to dazzle Bilotti with other charms of southeastern Massachusetts. Stop 1: PLYMOUTH ROCK, the birth canal of America. The rock was identified as the pilgrim’s first landing site—121 years after they landed and 24 miles away from the actual site. As an American, Bilotti of course felt a mystical pull to the rock, like a piece of tape stuck to another piece of tape. Yet bizarrely, the most significant monument in American history did not impress this philistine.

Chiappini then took Bilotti to a charming local bistro, Papa Gino’s, to sample the region’s gastronomical delights. Despite Chiappini procuring both the traditional thin-crust and the exotic “Rustic Cheese” pizzas, Bilotti took a bite of each and then “sauced up” the employee lounge.

Luckily, Chiappini had saved Massachusetts’s most-celebrated tradition for last: the dog track. Since election day, dog racing’s days have been numbered. [2] The drunken masses in the Bay State’s voting booths have decided they love marijuana and income taxes more than family entertainment and jobs for dogs. One can only assume the thousands of greyhounds simultaneously unemployed on January 1, 2010 will turn their focus from running races to running drugs.

We followed Chiappini’s pre-track rituals: getting liquored up, praying to Anubis, the Egyptian dog-headed god, and burning several dollar bills to get used to the feeling of losing. There was no trouble getting new bills at the track because they have stacks of cash (that used to be other people’s).

The first decision at the track was whether to go to the grandstand with its collection of broken souls or the clubhouse with its hoity-toity carpeting and exorbitant $1.50 admission fee. For a neophyte, a trip to the grandstand is a must. While you may come for the free admission, you’ll stay for the men in knit ponchos, 24 flavors of soft-serve and wisdom like, “Why do these ATMs have limits?” and “My daughter thinks I’m at work tonight.”

Take it from Chiappini, who has lost hundreds at the track and has been eavesdropping on guys in jean jackets since he turned 18: there is a system. Amateurs like to bet based on the dog’s name. Sure, “Nitro Diddy” and “MJ’s Go Fast” sound quick and “Get Out Debt” may appear to be a dog for the fiscally responsible. But real pros look deeper in the night’s racing program. They look to the name of the dog’s parents. “Safari Joggins” starts looking a lot better when you see the name of his dad—“Stable Suburban Father.” Also, expert bettors look at the short descriptions of the dog’s past seven races, even when emotionally painful: “Early Factor, Lost Ground,” “All Alone Inside,” “Denied Rail,” “Never Prominent,” and “Bad Dog, Very Bad Dog.” [3] However, the only sure-fire way to win in this business is to uncover the dogs’ clandestine coalitions—they might not be apparent during the racing, but if they covertly high-five afterwards, you know you were right.

There’s little time left to take these tips and make your great fortune. So skip out on the holiday a capella jam and head down to Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park before it’s too late.

[1] Mrs. Chiappini’s Limo Service: Quality Since 1987

[2] 392 days from date of publication.

[3] One is fabricated, for the others: Carney, George L. “Races 6-13.” Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park Official Racing Program. November 28, 2008.