Those races have not been good to Beyer. "My record in the Kentucky Derby is a chronicle of public humiliation. I failed to pick Affirmed, Seattle Slew and Secretariat...among others," he says. (Two months later, in a column extolling the virtues of Easy Goer the day before this year's Derby, Beyer would write, "There is, in fact, only one strong argument to suggest that Sunday Silence can upset the favorite: I am picking Easy Goer.")
He is wrong a lot, Beyer says, but he is also right a lot. And he does it with his own money, in public, in the toughest game of all: "Every political expert in the country was wrong about the Republican nomination when it was a two-horse race. They said the nominee would be Bush before Iowa. Then they said it would be Dole before New Hampshire. So I don't feel too bad about making a few bad calls in a 20-horse cavalry charge at Churchill Downs."
Crist leaves the track for a beachfront hotel where he is staying with his wife, Robin Foster. Later on, he will spread out his notebooks and his Racing Form in his hotel room and work on tomorrow's card. But now, he relaxes for an hour, then goes to dinner—at the dog track. He wins a Double Q—back-to-back races in which he correctly selects the first-and second-place finishers—before the salad is served.
It is a long way from Tristram Shandy to "Here comes Swifty!..." But Crist, like Beyer, has managed the change with remarkable grace. Proving, perhaps, that a Harvard education need not be an obstacle to happiness and fulfillment in life.