The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, July 24, 1973, Page page 12, Image 11

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    amblers bet on ae
"Not many 49-year-olds in the crowd tonight," state racing
steward Jack Fickler said at the state fairgrounds Wednesday
Six 9-4 combination tickets paid a record $3,481.80 for the
exacta in the fifth race.
"Generally there are enough who bet their age, either forwards
or backwards, to keep the odds down," he said.
Choosing your age is one of several popular ways to bet the
exacta and daily double, he said.
"Baseball, four box, betting the same numbers for years, and
just plain 'hard old' handicapping are also popular," he said.
"Baseball," he explained, "consists of betting all the
combinations for three horses."
For the exacta, it costs $18 for six tickets. Daily double
tickets cost $2, so the price is reduced to $12.
He said the horses are picked at random or logically from the
racing sheet which is published in newspaper form for every track
in the country. The sheet tells how the horse has done in the past,
assigns a handicap based on the record and predicts if he'll win,
place or show in the upcoming race.
"Four box" is a variation of "baseball" using home plate, he
said. Since the bettor chooses four horses, he pays more.
A matter of luck
Fickler told a story of a 73-year-old man who lost by betting
his age.
The old man bet his age faithfully on the daily double for a
year but he could not win. He often complained of his bad luck
at the stable where he worked.
"I waters the horses, cleans the stable and feeds the jockeys,"
he griped, "but can I win?- I've bet 7-3 a hundred times and
The next day, another man who had overheard, bet the 7-3
combination and won. But when he returned to the stable to
share in the old man's joy, he found him complaining as usual.
"Why are you griping?' he saici. "The daily paid $480 and
doubled your money."
"Today's my birthday," he answered. "I bet 7-4."
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Photo by Bill Ganzel
UNL coed earns $$ from races
By Ken Merlin
School of Journalism
"Hurry up folks, there's still
time to place your hits on the
daily double before the
windows close for the first race
in just one minute."
As the announcement
blared across the track and
under the grandstand at the
state fairgiounds, a few fans
scurried in the carnival
atmosphere to join the line at
window No. 25.
A man in a short-sleeved,
light green shirt, leaned against
the scieen and called out
numbers from the racing form
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Peg Fairfield
friolo (jy Ken Mcrli
in some mysterious
sequence-" 1-1 2-10. . . .
.3-5-10 combinations in all.
Peg Fairfield, 23, a senior at
the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, listened
carefully for each $2 lxt
combining the first and second
race winners.
Continuous motion
In a continuous motion she
recorded the let on a
totalizer pressing a red button
for the first horse, a green for
the second. Then
red-green-red-green until it was
all done and she handed the
man his tickets.
"Change!" she cried out, as
the man took a fifty from a
wad of bills in his left pocket.
The change runner, a young
housewife from Columbus,
appeared in a pocketed apron
full of fives, tens, and larger
bills. She held the ones in
gioups of five Ijetween the
fingers of her left hand.
Peg handed the man his
change and the ritual ended
moments later with) a bell
signalling the start of the first
She closed her window,
took money from a slot tec
wooden box and carried it in a
bank bag to the money room.
Meanwhile, Lance Fickler,
son of state racing steward
Jack Fickler, cleared the daily
double codes and tickets from
the totalizers and set in the
same items for the exacta in
the fifth race
All kinds of people
Peg, whose husband Terry
works foi the' alumni
foundation, talked about her
part time job during the second
"You meet all kinds of
people," she said.
"I still get a kick out of the
customer who comes up and
whispers 'I got one for you.'
"I just listen, but I think it's
funny," she said. Peg said her
first job at the track was
walking horses for two trainers.
Jobs available
She said there are still jobs
for university girls who want to
walk horses.
"All they have to do is ask,"
she said. "The trainers get a
kick out of it."
Peg said in her last job she
summer ncbraskan
had to clean the stable. She
said that was"toomuch"so she
quit and joined the mutuels as
a clerk. That was three
summers ago. She worked the
straight bet windows-win,
place and show-until last
Tuesday when she began selling
daily double and exacta
When the windows opened
after the second race, Peg had
$1,450 in a wooden box to pay
the daily double winners. She
called for additional money
several times.
Famous last words
"Famous last words around
here are 'I should have ... If
only I'd . . she said.
"I enjoy paying the
winners," she said with a smile,
"They sometimes tip, but not
that often."
By now the floor was
scattered with ticket stubs,
money bands, change
wrappers, cigarette butts and
tissues. Peg used dry-wash
tissues frerjuently to clean the
ticket ink from her fingers. She
stood most of the time, as did
the other clerks although stools
were available.
"Standing doesn't bother
me" she said. There's nothing
bar! about the job. I wouldn't
be working here if there was."
Another clerk expressed a
different opinion. "I started
out as a runner and things
haven't changed since I've been
here. It's the worst track in
Nebraska. They ought'a close it
down. They jay twice as much
in Omaha for this job."
Cash volume
Chris Baade, head
supervisor, who travels with
the mutuels in Nebraska,
attributed the difference in pay
to the larger 'handle' (cash
receipts) and greater volume of
tickets sold per clerk at
Ak sar-lx;n.
"Ten percent of the handle
goes to pay the purse (winner's
earnings) and the track
personnel, five per cent goes to
the state and the remaining 85
per cent is returned to the
public. The handle last
Wednesday was $200,000. An
average handle at Omaha is
close to a million.
"Here a clerk sells 80 120
tickets per race. An Omaha
clerk sells more tickets per race
and so the track can afford to
pay more," he said.
Many applicants
But Peg doesn't complain
about the pay. She said she
makes $15 on an average night
of eight races and $2 more for
a ninth race.
One money runner said she
got $8 per night.
John Skold, who also works
for the mutuels and does most
of the hiring, said he had 50
applicants waiting for a job
opening. He said he judges an
applicant by his present job
andhires mostlyschool teachers,
postmen and college students
who get along well with the
Baade who judges the clerks
on their daily performance said
he "gets rid of the ones who
don't work out."
Clerks not flustered
"A good clerk isn't flustered
by a $100 bill and seldom
makes mistakes. They also like
their jobs," he said.
Peg said she doesn't worry
about mistakes which can
come out of her salary. "If you
punch the wrong ticket, you
may have to (jay for it. We
shout it out so the other clerks
can try to sell it. We all try to
help each other out.
"If you're stuck with it, you
can always hope it comes in,"
she said.
"I try to watch what I'm
doing, listen close, press the
right buttons and count the
change. Some people just
mumble and you have to ask
them to repeat it," she said.
During the exacta sales,
Baade encouraged the clerks as
lie walked down the line, "If
we don't get em now, we'll get
'em later."
Peg sold 325 tickets at $3
each without a mistake.
Elsewhere several clerks were
shouting numbers they had
punched up.
The fifth race exacta on
Wednesday made history. The
first and second horses to cross
the finish line, despite two
protests, were officially Cuik
Date and Spiffy Beau. Baade
assigned one cashier to pay out
the six winning tickets of
$3,481.80 each, a state
fairgrounds record.
tuesday, july 24, 1973
page 12