Speed Limit

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 7, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I know about every kind of handicapper after my many years at the track. Some play class, some play trainers, and others follow everything from front wraps to the way the horse looks in the post parade.

For most of my life, I have had the pleasure of knowing Ed Tyack. He was an old drywaller. You could tell by the way he was hunched over as he walked. He said, “Use your brain and not your back.” I guess those old D-wallers are tough.

Tyack loved speed. Pure and honest; catch me if you can; get on the Bill Dailey and don’t look back.

He never wanted to play a horse who had not jumped from the gate early. “It was where it’s all at,” he said. “Get on the lead and set the fractions. Make em’ beat you at your game.”

I always kept an open mind to stalkers, closers, and speed. But the more he talked, the more I became convinced. Tyack knew his game. He had walked out to his old rusty truck more than once. With a 12-pack in a paper bag on the front seat, he loved coming to the races; but only looking for speed.

I gave it a thought. A long hard thought… Every race has a pace setter, and they have to either play his game and chase, or strategically move and gun him down. I was always afraid of speed early on when playing the ponies, because if they took a bad step or bobbled a bit, the race was over.

It was Tyack who brought me back to watching more and more for speed. He said, “How many times have you had a closer and he got cutoff, came up short, or got boxed in?” He was right….

Many tracks have a bias. He looks for the cheap tracks. The places where a little speed can be as tough as a nickle steak.

“Catch me if you can,” he yelled at the runners in the 6th race at Charles Town. With a 1/16th of a mile left, Tyack was on top by 3 lengths. It was right at that time he turned and uttered the immortal words: “I love this game.”