Takin' It to the Track: the Sports Bar at Isle Casino in Pompano

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Night Watch is a regular feature about bars and clubs by nightlife columnist Tara Nieuwesteeg.

The Isle Casino & Racing in Pompano proved a good place to erase a bad day.

After sampling $1 happy hour specials at the bar inside the casino, my friend Beard and I made our way to the Sports Bar:

Past the poker room was the betting room-- featuring a degenerate sight of mostly middle-aged men clutching pieces of paper and tiny pencils, and staring at screens, all of which were projecting a different horse race, dog race, or some other bettable activity.

We wandered out the glass doors to the deck above the race track, and watched as harnessed horses--which actually are cart-pulling horses, each attempting to out-trot the next--whipped around the track. The audience included businessmen clutching betting cards and massage girls out for a cigarette break.

More booze was necessary.

We made our way to the large, rectangular bar and settled down in a booth just beyond it, next to a 12 x 12 TV showing four different races. We sipped bourbon. A tall, blue-eyed man who wore a tank top and a blue "Duncan Racing" cap was standing nearby, looking as though he knew what he was doing.

"How often do you have to play to win big?" I asked him.

"Horse racing?" he asked.

"Whatever can make me some good money, quickly," I said, my expression ultra-serious.

"I was born into betting on horse racing," he said.

"You gotta get this." He waved a piece of paper under my nose. "Tells about the horse, its last six races--you can use this to figure out which is gonna win."

"Ooh." I said. "It's all about the literature, eh?"

"Yup," he said. "And make a lot of small bets, but don't be disappointed if you lose. It won't be long before you win big."

"Do you win big?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he said. "The best part is, the house has no advantage in horse racing. It's all about the horses doin' their thing."

I turned to my friend Beard, who'd been having a bad day, and for whom I had hoped to win a jackpot today.  "Well, I wanted to win you some money to make your day better," I said. "But looks like it's too much trouble to try."

Beard appreciated the sentiment. "But this bourbon's making my day better plenty."


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