Hermit Punters

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 16, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I think we may know one or two of these creatures. They used to go to the track, and enjoy the day at the races. Don’t get me wrong, they still played with great enthusiasm. But they have found the betting sites and TV coverage that feeds 24 /7. I was called by one of these players last year, after he wanted me to watch a fair circuit race. It was then that an intervention began.

In the days of old, or just less than ten years ago, the main way to get your bet on was to head to the track. You could still bet which track and races you wanted, as simulcasting was alive. But many have forgotten their roots.

I asked him if he remembered how we would ditch classes and drive off to Keeneland? If he remembered how we would sometimes pool money, and have the best time of our lives…. He laughed, and did remember. But his response was sad. “I have everything that I need here, and I don’t have to wait in line.” He was right, but you miss that experience that only the track can bring. The sites and smells, and not to mention the friends you have made over the years….

As I reminded him of our fall trips to Lexington, Kentucky, could he think back when a trip to Churchill was like going to a party? A night at Turfway Park in the fall was like a little slice of heaven.  Just think back to the good old days… That computer will be there, and you can still do all of your work at the track… He agreed, maybe just to shut me up, but we made a trek down to Keeneland. He loved seeing the Dogwoods in bloom, and the ladies of U.K. dressed to the nines. The blue-bloods and common folk all stirring together for the same two minutes, and you couldn’t tell who was shouting the loudest… He was back, if even for the day.

He won that day, and it made the trip that much sweeter. It was the drive home that brought my friend back to life. He said that he would make a trip or two a month. We need to get together and enjoy what brought us together as friends. It was as if the Beatles were back in action. My friend came back to the races.

Oh, it is not the end of the world. I have a betting account myself. But, I work at a track, and no matter how busy I get, I still make my way out to watch the feature race every day. How many jobs are there that affords someone to be around what they love?

Well, it is almost 9:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night… I am watching the Turfway Park signal, and it looks like fun. The lights, the racing, and the action. I think I am going to ride over for the last few. I am only a few miles away, and I can’t wait. I guess the sport gets into your blood, and for some it never leaves. Time to go, post time is in thirty minutes and I think I can make the 8th race…