Old Stories

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 2, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

A day at the track can be more fun than a day at Coney Island. The people and their stories can be more entertaining than the action itself.

I was chatting with a gent we call two-dollar-Bill. I know, it sounds like a name from a movie.. He bets $2 to win and show. He comes everyday, and plays only the runners at our track. If the bomb goes off, you could bet Bill would be there with his coffee in hand.

He is nearing eighty. All that is on his mind seems to be the Ohio racing scene. He fears that increased competition would cripple the industry, just like in Kentucky. This is what he does. His family lives far away, and he has always lived ten miles away from the track. He could quote every rider, race, and loser he has had in the last fifty years. He is just a piece of the puzzle, but an important piece indeed. It is the “Bill’s” of the world that keep our lights lit.

I was approached by another unidentified gent. He came with a firm handshake and a question on his mind. He wanted to know if he could take some memorabilia from the track when it closes. As far as he was concerned, the obituary had been written. I didn’t take offense to the request as he loved our little track; he only wanted a little memory. One that would remind him of the many days in the sun along the beautiful river. I sure hope I can give him some items, but only after we redecorate with new slot money to keep the game alive.

A twenty-something lad came up to me with beer in hand. He told me he had been to the track once a week since the Derby. He was hooked after the longshot he bet $2 to win paid a heap load. He said, “I am hooked. I love it, and I have been getting friends to meet me here instead of playing golf.” Don’t get me wrong, he loves golf, but the ponies have caught fire in his heart. This is the future of our game. He will be the next generation of player.

Overall, things are tense. Ohio needs help just like Kentucky, and they are ten miles apart for competing tracks. The losers will be more than the tracks. It will be the people who base their salary on the game.

It was the old stories that catch my ear. I hear passion and worry all rolled into one. The game needs help, and if they don’t receive any, I guess I can give that gent a trunk full of memories.