This time of year we gather with friends and family to give thanks. It doesn’t matter if it is a Norman Rockwell scene, or a new customary way of sharing. For me, I have so much to be thankful for, and the many people and events that have touched my life. Here are a few from the horseplayer’s side of my heart.
1. I give thanks for the many friends I see, and shake hands with at the track. The charachters at the track are some of the best in the world. I still enjoying hearing a race fan’s view of how they won, or the bad beat at the wire. It is our way of sharing. Kind of a secret hand shake of sorts. But in this club all are welcome.
2. Working in the industry, I have had some great opportunities to see the inner workings. Every person I have had the pleasure of working with will stay in my heart forever. I remember once walking into this big conference room. Before I sat down I thought back to the days working in the parking lot as an 18-yr-old kid. The smile you would have seen on my face was one that could have never been bought. You had to take the long route to get where I was at that moment. It was being thankful for getting to ascend the ladder and sit at the grownup table.
3. Going one step farther in being thankful at work. I want to thank a very special man who helped me understand the sport from a different perspective. He taught me there is so much more to the game than just gambling. The way he would listen to my many questions, and patiently answer me like a big brother. He showed me how to find that inner excitement everyday, and through his actions how to let your inner light glow. If you doubt me, you can tune in and hear him every Thursday on the Winning Ponies radio show. He continues to show me kindness and friendship, and reminds me of a time I will never forget. A special thanks to my good friend John Engelhardt.
4. Thanks for all of the winning days I had this past year. Paul Newman played the role of Fast Eddie Feldson in the The Hustler, and The Color of Money. There is a line from these two movies that I carry in my heart as a gambler: ” Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
5. Thank you for the photos that went my way, the objection sign that didn’t take my horse down, and all of the excitement and pageantry the sport has to offer.
6. I give thanks for standing in the sun at River Downs with my son eating ice cream, as he screamed at his 3-5 shot who won. It took me back to many days standing with my dad doing the same.
7. Thanks for allowing me to see another Derby, Triple Crown run, and a great Breeders’ Cup. There is nothing sweeter than these special days for a racing fan.
8. Thank you for the special memories of going to the races with my dad. Many children are blessed with having a parent, but few get to know them as a friend. Thanks for everything dad…
9. If you have a friend, family member, or someone who could use a kind gesture pick up the phone, or drop them a line. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that mean the most.
10. Thank you to my good friends at Winning Ponies for allowing me to share my thoughts and do the radio show for the many years we have been friends.
So, as this time of year comes into focus be sure to thank the special people in your life. There is so much we have to be thankful for no matter what our situation. Just being able to read these words are a reminder that we are here, and all is not lost. Take the time, make the call, and be sure to listen to your fellow players. Enjoy your week and know that the big tracks are getting ready to open their doors for history to be made. For that I am eternally grateful… Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from Winning Ponies!