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This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Inside Info

Yesterday's Preakness reminded me of a young lady named Shannon who once worked the Coke concession stand at the Oak Lawn Race Track in Arkansas.
Several years ago I was there with my buddies Ron, Larry Crum, Timmy Hewitt and Dave Bickley.   Courtesy of Ron's construction company, we were camped out in a nice set of box seats where we spread out all of the racing tip sheets and Daily Racing Forum and did our serious handicapping.  None of us were having much luck winning anything thru the first couple of races so I decided to grab a Coke.  That's where I met Shannon a very pretty, nice smile young lady with a Natalie Wood way about her.  She had me at "What can I get for you?"

She wasn't busy so we chit chatted awhile and after telling her that I was from Maryland she noted that her grand parents were Silver Spring, Marylanders.  At one point she asked if I had had any luck on betting the first three races.  After I told her no, she pulled out a crumpled up sheet of paper from her pants pocket.  She looked it over and said "Bet the six horse in this next race."   I asked her how she got her info and she said that her boyfriend worked there at the track too and he occasionally got tips on which horses were primed to run well that day. 

I thanked her for the tip, paid for my Coke and made my way over to the betting window where I put some money down on the six horse which was at 10-1 odds.  I then returned to the box seat area and informed Ron and the gang of my "hot tip."  Ronnie laughed and said "It's a racket.  She gives you the six horse, because she gave the first five schmucks one thru five and then she gives the next guy the seven horse and so on.  Whichever one wins, will go back and tip her." 

I tried explaining to Ron that I didn't think Shannon was running a game on me and that I got the impression she was sincere in giving me the tip that she did.  Ronnie teased me "J.  Scott, just cause some little race track snatch smiles at you, doesn't mean she's not b.s.'ing you."  With that clarification, I didn't bother to argue anymore because Ronnie did have a point about me being a sucker for a pretty, brown eyed girl with a nice smile - race track or not. 

However, when the Number Six horse won that next race, Ronnie turned to me and said "Take me to meet this little snatch," which I did.

Once I introduced Ronnie to Shannon, he immediately asked her "So, who you got in the next race?"  Shannon replied "If you were nice, like your Maryland friend here, I'd tell you."  Ronnie said "OK, I'll leave and you tell him," which she did.

Long story short - based on Shannon's tips we then won the next four races.   We of course tipped her after each winner and at the day's end even offered to take her out to dinner with us.  By this time Ronnie was fully in love with her. 

Thru the months after that Ron would call me periodically and tell me that he had been back to Oaklawn and that Shannon was still there and she said to say hello.  He continued to consult her for tips but eventually her boyfriend moved on job wise and she no longer had the inside scoop like she used to.  Ron said she ultimately got married, got pregnant and quit working the Coke stand. 

Thus, every time I think about horse racing and betting a hunch, I always think of Shannon and our little "racetrack moment."

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