by Ed Meyer

posted on June 8, 2011 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

BeggarHave you ever seen the guy or gal that can kick a ticket like a professional soccer player without any effort ? How about the guy who runs around and angles everybody for a few bucks ? I have known plenty, and in the game of racing they have been there long before me, and will remain long after.

Johnny Dollar – He would always make his way to the faces of the lucky winners. Shortly after that, he will hunt down the locals. They are always good for a couple of beans, and after that the pickings get slim…. But, he pools the money, and has enough to bet a few races. Johnny would always ask for the same amount. Only $1, and he would wish you well. Non-threatening, and always with a smile. He could put the pinch on you with the smooth of a pickpocket.

The Chief – He was an Indian, and did a little painting on the side. I once heard a story from my dad that he came in and painted a living room very quickly. He painted around all of the furniture, and never moved a thing. I guess he needed to get to his real job at the track. Chief couldn’t remember everyones name, and he called you ” hey buuuudddddie.” He was a master of the sob story, and needed everything from a transplant, to bus fare to get home. I did once see him wailing loudly on the race book floor. He had a 25-1 over a 30-1 in an exacta box. Well, up came the INQUIRY sign, and his jaw dropped. He had made promises to everyone, and his ship had came in. But, the bus that ended up taking him home gave him the worst beat story of the day.

The Scrapper – He didn’t fight, but he was allowed to pick up the parking lots for free, and he could keep the cans and bottles he collected. He also kept tickets found, and other items of interest.  Scrap was a quiet guy, and never made a peep. He was found stealing the copper pipe from the maintenance area. This was not looked down on kindly, and finally he was asked to leave. he went across the river, and cut the same deal he had in Kentucky. He still picks up trash to this day, and I heard he found a $2,000 pick four ticket.

The Screamers – They had a New York accent as thick as pea soup. They bitched about every race, and no matter who won. There was plenty who did not win from this gang. A bunch of older men who walk around and kicked tickets with the greatest of ease. The would find nice payouts on the floor, and after time you could see their shoulders begin to take on a rounded shape. This is the cost of being a stooper. They did find a $8,000 winner, and it was turned in. They received a $1,000 finders fee, and life was good in Stoopville.