I was looking over my emails, racing stories, and everything to prepare for the upcoming weekend. You know, all of the important stuff to keep us in the loop. It was at this time that I received an email from a friend. I thought it was some tales about what happened, and how he got nailed at the wire. But, it was a horse of a different color. This one hit home, and made me stop my info gathering, and focus on more important things in life.
He followed me on radio, and has been an avid member of WinningPonies. You could say that when I first read his responses, that I thought he would be an interesting gent to talk some horses. I was right on that guess, and he eventually came over to River Downs and we hooked him up to be an on-air handicapper. It was his moment in the sun, being sent out around the world doing what he loved. I really began to enjoy his calls, emails, and responses. For what started as a long distance communication, turned out that we discovered that we were practically neighbors. When I recieved his email from the hospital, it made me pause. This member of the WinningPonies family and ”Weekend Warrior” handicapper was having a week long stay in the hospital undergoing tests, and setting a “breakout date” for the opening day at Keeneland.
I wanted to stop by and see our friend, chat some horses, and talk about all things racing. Kind of a break in the day, as the floor was buzzing with patients, and those seeking to get well. It was after a brief chat about racing, that I received the highest compliment. Steve asked me if I would be interested in coming out to his home and having dinner. We could talk some horses and get to know each other on a different level. We could talk work, family, and what we do outside of racing. It was at this time his wife walked in, and I felt it was more important for them to be together. We shook hands, and he gave me a hug upon my departure. The walk to the car was long. All that I could think about was a man lying in a hospital bed wanting to break out for a day in Lexington.
As much as I love racing, and the WinningPonies folks allowing me to take part in their site, I couldn’t take my mind off Steve. I called the president of WinningPonies, and we talked for quite a while about one of our family. What were the odds that an avid player and friend lived so close? I guess I can write it off to luck, or introspectively look at it as an opportunity to meet another interesting fan. I have been writing for years about the colorful characters of the game. The fans are the best part of the game. They make the daily trek of going to the races an absolute joy. Race fans are one-of-a-kind. This applies to Steve as well. He is a quiet “Weekend Warrior” who loves the game, and those around him. I look forward to getting to know him better. In the meantime, he has a timeline for driving to Keeneland on a beautiful Friday afternoon in the springtime sunshine. What could be better? What more could a horseplayer ask for?
From your family and friends at WinningPonies, we wish you all the best, and drop us a line for the Friday card at Keeneland. Racing is a game that captivates our senses. It allows fans to gather and enjoy the excitement together. But, there are more important things in life than who won the feature race. It is about friends and family. So as you read this, send some good thoughts in his direction. I know that I will be keeping him in my thoughts and prayers and I sure hope he makes the trek to Keeneland this Friday.