Can You Remember Your First ??

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 12, 2015 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Uncategorized, | 2 Comments >>

How old were you when you made your first trip to the track ? – Was it a family member, or did you tag along with a friend ? – Were you in college for a day away from classes ? – Did you make your first trek with some pals from work, or was it a group outing where 50 folks loaded onto a bus enjoying adult beverages on the way ? – For me the answer is easy.  Yes.


I started going with my dad and grandpa. By now you know the story if you have followed along over the years. I started as a tag-along, and somewhere it developed into a full-scale love. I couldn’t tell you the date or time, but you always remember your first. – Racing was my first love; and Susan in kindergarten. But racing didn’t tell me to go back to my seat and leave her alone. – Getting to make a $2 place or show bet was the height of excitement. You stared the print off the pages looking to find a magic message in the past performances. When you finally cashed that first ticket, there was nothing like having a couple dollar bills and some change handed to me by dad. I think the bug bit about that time. – How many can name your first big score ? – Easy one for me. Oaklawn Park, Lt. Bert, $20 to win as I had $2 win and place with my dad via the local bookmaker. I can still remember my dad laying out the newspaper showing the results as I came up for breakfast. I had to wait until Saturday to collect.


I used to skip my last 11:00 a.m. class at college. I started early, and kept my last easy class for that time slot. Most of the time I would bolt and head to the library or play racquetball with a friend. But there were special days when a special friend of mine would leave a note on my car window. There were no cell phones, and texting was something from a space movie. I could see my car as I used to park in the professor’s lot;  I gave a professor free parking at the track for a parking sticker. Those things were like gold. – I could see my car, and when there was that big white paper under my windshield wiper, it only meant one thing. – Let’s go to Keeneland. We’ll meet at 11:00 am. – Looking back those were some of the best times driving down to Lexington. The leaves would either be turning gold hues of autumn or beginning to bloom. – What I wouldn’t give to make that drive with my old pal again.


I attended the races once on a bus trip. – There is more of a possibility of me sprouting wings than doing that again. I got so drunk on the way down, and all day long we pounded more. I remember going broke about the 7th race, and my brother made a decent score. We had betting money for the last two, and slept all the way back. Never again, just not for me. – Rule #1, never get drunk and gamble. – I broke it enough to last a life time.


Most guys take their gals to meet mom and dad when things are getting serious. – I used to pick them up, and take them to the races. If they wanted to stay, they were keepers. Only one wanted to leave, and I thought she was mad and it wouldn’t work. She had a little something else in mind, and thinking back I’m pretty glad we left early. – There were some great gals I met along the way. – I took my girlfriend /wife to Keeneland, and she wasn’t a gambler, but she rooted like hell when the horses thundered home. She’s been gone 12-years now, and every time I go to Keeneland I think back to the spot we were standing as I won enough to take us to her favorite steak house. – I met my current lady at the races at River Downs on Cradle Stakes Day in the VIP tent. I did some handicapping on TV with a guy I knew from the races, and he paid me with two tickets to the tent party. A few years later, I ended up working with that guy who became one of my best friends. John Englehardt. – One gal stands out in my mind. She was as sweet as possible, and way over my head. She loved the theatre, symphony, and an occasional wine cooler but no more than two. – I didn’t think there was much of a real chance, and I picked her up and we went to old Lebanon Raceway. I asked her if she would like a drink, and she said if they had a cabernet or white zin she would like to have just one. When I returned with two Miller draft beers, she wasn’t going to have any part of that non-sense. I won over $400 in one race, and she started drinking beer. After three, it was all I could do to keep this 90 lb. wild woman off me ! – I think we set new standards of acting like kids at the Warren County Fairgrounds. – If you’re a fella who likes to see what your odds of staying together read. Take your date to the races. You’ll know in a race or two.


I’ve loved the races since the first time I understood what was going on. Money to be made; horses thundering down the lane, and the mass of humanity coming together enjoying the greatest sport in the world. I have always enjoyed sports, but nothing compares to racing. I guess that’s why she is my first love. The game has bit my backside, made me giddy with joy, and introduced me to some of my best friends in life. – I’ve had days where I couldn’t buy a winner, and stretches of time where I could do no wrong. It has provided me with an occupation from the parking lot to calling the races. – How many people could say they have loved one thing with gusto since they were 12-yrs-old ? Exclude sleeping, eating, and watching movies, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who can answer that. – Well, I guess you’ve met a real racing fan who fell in love with his first.