Best Friends

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 8, 2010 in General Discussion | 2 Comments >>

I have met about any and every type of player on the map. It is rare to meet the interesting folks that are the backbone of the game. I consider myself lucky, and have a gent that I talk to at the track all the time.

He has been a blue-collar player. You wouldn’t have seen him in the VIP room, but he has the class to play any part. He loves to bet, but his wagers are small. It is the action versus taking down the pick-six that is more attractive. He loved his beer for years, and knew many locals at the tracks he frequented, and was known by many.

He used to get far too many in his belly to his own admission. But, health and time have taken that part away. I really think the drinking was cutting into his gambling to be honest.  He was an incredible athlete, as many horseplayers are. The competitive desire never leaves no matter how old you get… He has told me many stories of how he played, and what he could do… I always enjoyed hearing about them, and they gave me a fuller picture of the man who stood before me.

He used to travel to local trotter tracks, and take his wife along with him. They both loved to play, but she was better suited at cards. But, when she is not around, you would hear him mumble that he is better than she is at that game as well.  He even took her on their first date to the track. I was at the track that night, and I knew his luck had finally changed as he had picked a winner.

His running down the stretch, and yelling at the top of lungs has slowed a bit. He comes to the track to enjoy the sun and talk with his older cronies. I think he enjoys this as much as playing the races.  I have known him for a very long time… He likes to play cheap speed, and his rule that a horse must have had broke first or “headed” another is one of his approaches. He loves the 5 1/2 furlong races, and any cheap rider has some sort of story that they have been saving up for the big win.. I call them conspiracy theories, but he swears they are real. It is people like my friend that keep belief in UFO’s, Bigfoot, and Area 51 alive…..

I see him at the track during the week. He hates the crowds, and the weekends have taken their toll. I know for a fact he will be at Indiana Downs on Wednesday night. He will bitch that he is going to drive, but I know he still enjoys the action.

The reason I know this for sure, is that this is my dad. If you figured this out early, then you may be the next 007 or the next super sleuth. It is his birthday, and what better way than to thank your best friend with a story. He started me going to the races, and it has been a love that we have both shared for all my life. For the million rides to and from the track, and the stories that have always followed, I wouldn’t trade it for any pick-six or superfecta. We all have found friends, taken them to the track, and met them along the way. We started going together long ago, and we still enjoy the races. Oh, and I will be sitting next to him on the way to Indy Downs Wednesday evening. No matter what, I will be a winner. I am sharing a passion with my best friend, and I hope we will be doing it for as long as the racing gods allow. Happy Birthday, dad… Even if you do not make a bet, you will always be a winner…….