The Beginning And The End

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 6, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

Once upon a time, racing was king. It was the only real game in town, and it was not everywhere. You had to travel or wait for your favorite track to run. It was an event, and it was an honor to spend 5 hours at the oval watching horses run around in circles. But things have changed.

The track was the place to be. If you were to be seen, or if you wanted to be somebody, you would be at the track dressed to the nines and hanging with the right people. So many movies capture the image, but The Hustler comes to mind when Fast Eddie Feltson was in Louisville…..

Things were fat, and many careers began and flourished at the track. I began my love as a boy, and have even made it my calling. But, I came in the last part of the good days. The times of handle explosions, and simulcast inventions have come to be a an everyday part of the game. I missed the good days. I guess a day, and a million dollars short…..

Now, 90% of all revenue is wagered off track. I walk through the track and see empty seats and vacant areas. I used to remember leaving early just to beat the traffic. Now, you can come 10 minutes before the double, and make it with ease. Things have changed a bit…… Where there was a day at the races has been replaced. There is nobody that dresses up without it being a big day or event. You wouldn’t catch three ties in the whole place. Ladies hats have been replaced with ball caps and cut-offs.  The sights are not the same.

I have heard so many talk about the demise of the game. They feel the sport must die before we can revive and come back. It kinda sounds a little odd, but it holds some merit. The game is being steered by some that really don’t care. I have come to an ugly conclusion that the only way to save the sport for the future is to scrap it and go again….

I hate the idea…. I hate the thought. But, it may have to happen. We need to come back with a fresh perspective. I think we would treat it as a new business, and not think of it as your grandpa’s game. Once again, I hate the idea of a man bringing this up…. But, it does make a little sense.

We had the run of the castle. We could do no wrong, but as anything goes, things do change. I often wonder if the game will have to die. This does not apply to every track, but for the most part, things will change. It is just the law of the universe.  We must regress before we progress….. I think we are going backward at a breakneck pace, and it is only a matter of time.