NEW YORK, NY – Ever since the first wave of Italian immigrants hit Ellis Island over one hundred years ago, these WOPs (WithOut Papers) were almost immediately stereotyped as gamblers… among other things. True to form, I started gambling with the blessing of my parents and a few uncles at the age of eight by putting a buck on a four-team parlay card involving NCAA and NFL games. Football betting became my gateway drug to the horses and video poker machines long before we heard of modern day Race-inos. Football betting and “the ponies” are such a good combo that the second annual MTM Day at Belmont is being organized for an NFL Sunday in September… pending the votes received in the comments section for the 8th, 15th, 22nd, or 29th. But don’t worry – an email will be forwarded to those of you who sleep through this Sunday post (shame on you!). Whatever the date, we promise you’ll have as much fun as seen in the Best Track Movies:
The Flamingo Kid: As Angry Ward referenced in his Must-See Summer Movies, the beach club staff receive a tip on a Yonkers’ trotter and one Notre Dame-bound teen blows four bills ($400) of 1950′s currency on the misinformation. A little known fact once told to me by an old-timer called “George the Jew” was that Yonkers Raceway was the place to go all cleaned and dressed up and to be seen with a dame in the 40′s and 50′s. By the time me and the fellas were regulars in the 80′s and 90′s, the joint was ready for a match to be put to it. The Rooney family (yes, that clan) is now reaping the benefits of casino gaming AND full racing cards seven days a week.
Easy Money: There is a certain honesty to how receiving ”a tip” on a horse is executed in the movies and we are all guilty of such a rush to the ATM, track, and betting window behavior seen in this next clip. Yes, that’s Joe Pesci before we really knew who he was in a movie the writers tried dressing up with a name straight outta Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Rodney Dangerfield’s character is Monty Capuletti (Capulet and Montague), who has a long-standing feud with his mother-in-law in the same type of caste system romance ideals in Romeo & Juliet.
The Pope of Greenwich Village: “It’s no wonder why wasps ain’t got no color, eating tomato soup and white bread.” It’s not a lunch of minestrone and Italian bread but Charlie feeds Paulie this canned crap to nourish the thumb-less Tony Roberts character. The movie’s turn comes at Belmont Park, courtesy of a tip and a wise move by Mickey Rourke’s protagonist. If anybody out there hasn’t seen this one, you must do so immediately.
A Bronx Tale: “Mush” had Kryptonite to win and put the hex on Jimmy’s Belmont Avenue crew, who bet the same horse. JGClancy and Cam James had the aptly named Karma Shield, who couldn’t fend off the Kryptonite of our pals cash and is now playing the harp in horse heaven.
See you at the track… and see you back here tomorrow for West Coast Craig.
Filed in: Cheesy Bruin