The problem is that not only are others skeptical of his numbers, but Foto is, too. Sometimes he bets his numbers, but often he makes adjustments—frequently to his sorrow. That is another aspect of the Race Track Character. He has a system he swears by. He touts his friends on his selections. He bigmouths all over the grandstand. Then, on the way to the window, he'll hear somebody say he has a tip on another horse and the R.T.C. will bet the tip. And—too often—lose. A horse named Tulle Tu doesn't add up in Foto's figures, but he has a tip. He touts his friends onto Tulle Tu, he plays the horse himself. Tulle Tu loses. "Tips, Goddamn tips," Foto moans. "All my life I go for these tips. What's wrong with me? Am I a dummy? I make my friends lose money, and this horse that wins goes out and runs like Secretariat."
He looks at another race. "O.K., Poolside will win from here to Georgia. Forget the four horse. She'll stop." Poolside is eighth; the No. 4 horse wins. But Foto has a few dollars on No. 4, too. Why? "Well, you gotta figure." Foto bets a 3-5-6 triple; the finish is 3-6-5 and pays $149.40. "That's O.K.," says Foto. "I ain't never gonna be broke. I have $10 worth of nickels and $14 worth of dimes stashed away at home."
His handicapping is repeatedly interrupted by a 4-year-old boy who comes to the track every day with his grandmother.
"Where's your ice cream?" says Foto, absently.
"I don't got none."
"Come on, Tim, you gotta talk right. Say, 'I don't have none.' "
"I don't have none."
Abruptly, Foto slaps his Racing Form against his head. "Here it is. The clue on Sarah Fox. Right here. She was the only 4-year-old in the race. The others are all 3-year-olds. A four beats a three almost every time. How could I have missed that? Normally I would have had a deuce on her. Why didn't I this time? That's what makes this game so baffling. Maybe the secret is to throw the class out and bet the bums."