I thought, “This tastes funny,” and took another bite of the double-chocolate triple-peanut butter brick bar.
Something hard was in there, a law suit? Some rusty part had fallen off a machine at the candy factory?
I quit chewing and moved the hard piece to my tongue and then onto the palm of my left hand. It was some tooth, approximately a third of a tooth. But the hole, upper left, second from the back, felt large enough for a dime to fit sideways through.
It was mid-week during this Christmas-New Year’s holiday period when everything but the jail shuts down. There’s never a good time to break a tooth on a combo chocolate-peanut butter rock bar. Breaking a tooth the week between Christmas and New Year’s is probably like breaking a tooth while swimming the Channel.
I put the third of a tooth on the Racing Form and hustled to call my dentist on the off-chance that I could catch her backing out of the driveway on the way to her new house in Crested Butte, Colorado. She was doing just that but said she would see me nevertheless, so I raced to her office.
The news was not good.
Yes, I figured as much, I told her, as I was the one who had been chewing part of his own tooth.
The possibilities were as follows. The prospect of a simple crown procedure was doubtful, as a shadow on the X-ray indicated that the tooth was cracked below the gum line. A root canal by a specialist was a long shot because a crown might not even fit. An implant was a possibility. This is where somebody gets some pliers and yanks out the broken tooth and screws a metal post into the bone, or something like that. Oh yeah, one more thing. If the implant is on an upper, sometimes the sinus cavity has to be, and maybe you should skip on to the next paragraph, sometimes the sinus cavity has to be pushed up. A bridge, like Uncle Fred had back in one of the days, was also out there. Or, get a banjo and learn the “Deliverance” song. No specialists were working this week. And my dentist had to get to her new house in the mountains. She covered the exposed part of the tooth as best she was able. In case of insanity-causing searing “Marathon Man” type pain, I was told what to do, whom to call, until somebody got back to town.
There’s a meaningful trend taking place at smaller horse race tracks hock-deep in slot machine profits. The fat purses are attracting decent horses from all around. Allowance races with $30,000 purses are commonplace. Whereas the occasional mediocre shipper used to slip into town and run down a gate full of local plodders while paying $20 or more on the win, now you will find more really good horses making roads trips and romping home by ten and paying next to nothing as odds-on favorites. The higher the purses, the shorter the win prices, that’s the way it has been running at the slot machine houses.
So the other late afternoon at the simulcast venue, two average out-of-towners were entered against a bunch of local sharps, the travelers being the 7 and the 8, one from Philadelphia, the other from Woodbine. Certain tracks send out clusters of tough rascals to beat, Sunland being one, Woodbine, recently. There’s something in the Sunland air, for a fact, New Mexico thinness, to start with. The new rule to go by when it comes to slot machine-inspired purses is: Average elsewhere is probably better than hot locally.
The 8 and the 7 ran around in front together.
Here’s something nice that wipes one bad photo result off the charts. The horse from Woodbine was second and was a threat for sixth. But the jockey rode the horse from Canada out like he was in a big-time stakes race and held off the local odds-on horse, winning second by a nose wrinkle.
The 7-8 Exacta was $73.
I had gone straight from the dentist to the races.
Pain and fear can create a unique focus whereby you don’t worry about what’s unnecessary. The competitor lets natural instincts take over. It’s like a golfer coming off a 102 fever to shoot 62. I hit about enough to almost cover what the insurance doesn’t. If something falls off, you might think about taking it to the race track.
Originally Posted on ESPN