All In

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 26, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

For some, these two words have been a part of their vocabulary in life, and as a gambler. For many, it is just not worth the risk. I don’t know who is right between the two, but I do know that one has a great deal more action in their life…..

I was 24 years old. I had $2,000 saved, and was going to school.  Things were going well for me. I had a job, and things were going well at college.  I wanted to do something crazy. I wanted to own a horse. This had been my dream ever since my dad walked me down to the paddock for the first time.

If you asked my advice about the claiming game. I would answer it very easily. If you want to claim for $5,000, wait until you have $10,000 and try again. You can always go down, but a $5,000 claimer has no where to go, except back to the barn. So, I say “go for it,”  but have a plan…

Well, back to the counting. I counted $2,000 out on my bed. My brother was there, and he backed my move as he loves action. The money was going to claim a $5,000 runner by the name of State Budget. I begged my two partners to make the move six months prior. They hedged, and we waited. He racked up four wins and three seconds during this time. It was then, they wanted to jump….

We made our way to Churchill Downs. He was in the last race, and Eusabio Razo was in the saddle. They were going 7 furlongs, and he liked to lay just off of the pace and pounce. He loved Louisville, and I liked my chances. So, I borrowed money from my brother, and hammered him at the window as well. Hell, if I was going to drop $2k on him, at least I could do was back my play….

The horses going to gate had him at 5-1… I was sweating bullets… While in the gate, he dropped to 7-2. I had even more confidence. They broke, and the first fraction was hot. He was laying fifth on the rail. They hit the half, and it came back just as salty. When they hit the top of the long stretch, he circled the field like they were tied to the ground. He went on to win by two, and I went to the window to get all of my money back. What a way to start an ownership…

The old gelding had more heart than tools. He won a few for us, and it seemed that when he was ready to fire, something would happen. He had an eye injury. He cut himself in the van ride to Keeneland. But, for the many bad, there were good days as well. It would be a major fib to say that I made money after all was said and done. He raced for some years for us, and I had the time of my life. My family would come out and watch every time he ran. His first win for our team came in a busy week for me. I graduated college, I gave a ring to my girl to get married, and my pony got up to win in a three horse photo right in the nick of time.  He was more fun than the law allows…

So, if you think about getting in the game, I say go “all in.” Give it a try, and see how much fun you will have. Each time you see your silks take to the track, it feels like you own a sports team going into the big game. I am so grateful for the opportunity, and for the effort he always gave.

I can still hear them playing “My Old Kentucky Home” after the final race at Churchill each day. We were on our way to the barn, and my heart was jumping out of my chest. I couldn’t stop smiling, and had tears in my eyes. I could still hear that historic song they play on the first Saturday in May. I can still smell the taste of victory. It was the time of my life, and I am so glad that I had many to share the time with. It just seems like yesterday, and each time I see a horse go the winner’s circle, I think back to an iron gelding by the name of State Budget.