Eddie A.

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 5, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

His snout would be the first thing to enter the room as he was making his way in the door. I had the opportunity to meet the legend one time many moons ago, and it was one I will not forget.

Steve Cauthen and Eddie Arcaro were sitting at a table at Turfway Park signing autographs. I had to stand in line with all of the other fans, and it was time well spent.

This all came flooding back to me as I read an excerpt from “Hoof-beats from the Past.” This can be found in the bookshelf at Americanturf.com.

As I read, Eddie A. was talking about shaking hands and greeting patrons at Jamaica. A “not-so-hot” apprentice rider came up and shook his hand. Arcaro gave many words of encourage, and upon letting go of the young man’s hand, the lad found a $100 bill folded up nicely.

Arcaro knew the game. He said he never underestimated his competition, and always kept up on the best of the best and their habits. He believed that all great riders would know where everyone in the field should be laying as the race was unfolding. This was one of his many talents; just knowing where they were before he made his move.

His distinguished career spanned three decades, and he never led the standings. Seldom did he accept 1,000 mounts per year. This was especially the case for stakes races. In 1946, he finally broke the $1 million dollar purse earnings mark that year. He was selective, and this kept him fresh and riding the best.

It seemed like it just happened yesterday. There he was sitting next to “The Kid” and they were both decked out. Eddie had a smile that could light up the room. Very few knew just how sick this man was, and he never showed it. I was like a little kid as I had read about this man and his ability. I never saw him ride in person, but for the many out there that have, I am sure it was a racing pleasure. I walked away, and held my poster. I don’t know if the poster meant more, or if it was that I met a gentle legend. Either way, I was starstruck for the first time, and remember that evening fondly.

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