Turf Flash

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 3, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I was handed a copy of an old magazine from a trainer friend. I like to call him “Mr. President”, as his last name is Bush. His family is steeped in the tradition of racing, and he is the kind of man who leaves others feeling better than before he arrived. It was on this day, he took me on a ride in a time machine of sorts. This publication was printed sixteen years to the day, before I was born.

I love the old stories about racing mishaps and trickery, before the policing of our sport has taken root.

It was on July 1, 1950 that a story broke about the misdoing of a race from Detroit. The hard part was that it killed the business of many bookies in the state of Ohio.

A runner by the name of Pine Lake was in race number eight, and he finished second. The wire service reported the payoffs as $21.20 to place, and $10.00 to show…. These are no payoffs to snoot at…. But, there was only one problem….

The prices were identical to a winner in the seventh┬árace, paid out on War Hal… The real prices were as follows: $5.80 to place, and $3.60 to show… The bookies did not find out this little nugget of information until it was too late, and the payouts were over…

Well, who says the little guys do not win one once in a while. Newspapers were bombarded with questions, and the wire service was questioned in detail. The only answer was that this was a mistake. A mistake that put many in a tough spot, and allowed others to take the kids to the beach that summer. There were winners and losers in this hiccup along the history of gaming. For every story that you may have heard that had a sad ending for gamblers, on July 1, 1950 it was the average Joe that won a round. Finally, the little guy was ahead of the curve, and that is the way it stays.

I am glad to have read this magazine. It shows how far we have come, and the hurdles our game has faced. Man, I sure would have liked to have been there in any handbook, when your man paid out the dough. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…….