The Fox

 

There will be a void in the world that only a handful will know. The kind of void only people who love you, or the folks who enjoy your company will really notice. If you say you belong to both of the above groups, you understand the first few words. – Horse racing is a majestic game. For the true fans it could be the beauty, the pageantry, or the camaraderie that took place over the last few hours. The race track was a melting pot where you meet friends and passersby that may last a lifetime. I was lucky enough to meet one of the good guys. My Dad always had me right by his side, and we’d walk through the gates. He knew my love of the game, and I got to meet all of his friends and acquaintances at the track. – The ” Fox’ was one the good guys. He had a cool swagger, a friendly smile, and a racing form in hand. He knew my Dad from the “good old days.” Both were good players in their day and from that point on they belonged to a fraternity of sorts. He would drive out for the last few races a couple of nights a week. As we would hang in the dank basement of Latonia / Turfway Park, my education of both people and horses grew.

 

Paul could be seen from far away with eye glasses held in mouth, looking off in the distance at the odds board. He may handicap five races and bet just three. That was Fox. Good horse player with the discipline of a bean counter. Funny thing, he was an auditor with CG&E in Cincinnati. I guess some professional work habits know no boundaries. He was always chatting with my Dad about the races, and only after a long apprenticeship was I allowed to chime in on the conversations. – For the million times going with the old man came a time when a young horse player drives the old Maverick up the back road. I would run out for the last few races as we did for years when my Dad didn’t want to go. By the way, the Maverick was baby blue with smoke stained windows. I knew this as Fox sold it to my Dad for $200. – I didn’t go to college the traditional way, I didn’t know what I wanted and worked construction with my Dad. Well, he worked and I made pretty damn good union money. No bills, a car he let me use, and no plans. I had plenty of money to gamble the races. Fox would see me making my $20 to win and place wagers, and he would congratulate me after each win. – One evening I think he could see I may have bit off more than I could chew. It was at this time I received some of the best gambling advice of my life. ” Eddie, you like to play the races and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you continue to bet over your head, you’ll be out of the game and they’ll run without you.” – Thanks, Fox. You were right.

 

One day I was home from school on college break, and a car beeped outside of my house on Ludford street. It was Fox. – ” Hey, Eddie. You want to drive down to Churchill with me ?” – It was a 100 miles away, and it may have been on the moon for a 20 year old kid. – ” Sure, I’ll be ready in fifteen minutes. Drive by and get me.” – He bought us McDonald’s and we talked about everything. I can’t tell you if I won or lost, but I remember I had the best day. – Thanks, Fox.

 

I always loved being at the track and asked Fox one night how somebody could get on. Back then you had to know somebody it seemed, and luckily I did. – Fox spoke to the parking manager and got me a job. That was my official start of working in racing. I moved from collector to parking manager, admissions director, race book manager, player development manager, on-air handicapper, radio host, and eventually became a track odds maker and announcer. – His son Eric sent me a message and said how proud he was of me. That was our little town. He knew me from a young boy, and in one conversation I began a long career path that has been the love of my lifetime. – Thanks, Fox.

 

Paul Redfield shed his mortal coil on 6/24/15. He was 77 years old, and  a man who enjoyed a good wager. He could talk sports with the best of them, and with cigarette in hand I still see his Andy Williams swagger. He could laugh at a joke, and have the strictest convictions. A man’s man as they used to say when things made sense. He kept the score at Ludlow High School football games for years, and raised a happy family in a small town. A golfer and a proud grandfather, Fox was a man for all seasons. – His eldest son sent me a message on Face book this week. I was shocked to hear the news and sad to know one of the good guys is gone. They just don’t make men like that anymore. – For all of the wisdom, friendship, advice, help finding a job, and later in life greeting me a good friend. Thank you, Fox. – When I call them on to the track today, I’ll know you just finished up 18 holes and made it out to the races at Pearly Gates Downs. You’ll see the best in history, and you’ll have the best seat in the house. See you at the races someday again old friend. – Thanks for everything, Fox.

 

 

Leave a Comment