There is a good friend of mine that has given up on the races. Yep… He has just folded his cards, and put away his binoculars. He claims that it has lost the charm, and is no longer exciting. I asked him to give it a break for awhile, and come back and take another look.
For many years, he wagered through bookies before simulcasting. He would talk about getting down a few dollars, and making the big comeback. Never one to get hooked into deep debt, but he did have some bad streaks like all of us. But that freshening period where you give it a break is needed sometimes.
My grandpa used to go to his garage and clean his plumbing tools, and scrap old metal that was used on job sites. He would fix things around the house, and listen to the baseball game on radio. This was his “cleansing” time. But, he would eventually come back to the game he loved, and make trips back to the track.
I still have his sixty-fourth Derby program. It was a special day as he and my grandmother stopped by a Justice of the Peace In Carroll County, Kentucky and became a family. They met at the races at “old” Latonia Race Course in Covington, Kentucky. A place where he would tell me about watching Seabiscuit, Exterminator, and a host of many others. He would speak of political rallies held there during non-racing, and the “big” boxing matches of the time. The track operated from 1883 – 1939, and his biggest win at the track was when he met my grandma there.
So, as my good pal gets a little older, I think he may have forgotten about some of the fun days. Driving out on a snowy Kentucky afternoon to catch cheap claimers, or standing in the brisk spring wind watching the babies prepare for the Derby. The many friends and stories are countless. If I were a doctor, I would prescribe staying away for a bit. No big days, and no small wagers. Don’t even talk about the many fond memories it has shown you over the years, and I think in time you will have that desire again. When you enjoy driving out to the races, and making your yearly bus trips to the Twin Spires. Time cures all, and if you look back after a short hiatus, I think you see the game in a new light. One where memories were made, and time is measured by a 20-minute post. Just take another look, and I’ll bet you see the game like never before.