Teaching Track Talk

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 19, 2015 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Uncategorized, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>


We all have lingo. We’re not the Rat Pack, but our own secretive code. – I have observed this working at five race tracks, and it never fails. Just listen closely, and you’ll hear the inner-teen in all of us speaking the truth in non-embarrassing ways. My son is 15, and I notice when he says things about school. At first, it has the innocent sound of kids passing through the hall talking gibberish. But listen a little closer. – I love it when he’ll look at me with complete astonishment and say, ” hey old man, you’re pretty good.” – Thanks, but it’s not that tough, as I was once where you are. Same game, different names. – “Track-Talk” has the same cool attempt at disguising the truth, but if you listen a little closer you’ll hear the message. Not that it means we’re going to be the next Nancy Drew; there I go again showing my age. – See if any of these sound familiar to you.


1. – You ask a friend, co-worker, family member, or track compadre to meet you at the track. You get a response that is a little off key and you start wondering if he or she has turned into your kid. – ” I would love to, but I have to do some work around the house. – My wife wants me to seed the lawn. – I’m not feeling too hot today after you watched him guzzle down lunch like he devoured a whole goat.” – The long and the short, they are a little light in the wallet, and can’t make it. It’s just easier and allows them to save face instead if saying I couldn’t buy lunch if it was free !


2. – You run into an acquaintance at the races. – ” You doing any good today ?” – Sounds like an easy question, and since you both are at the same place it would pass for small talk. – ” I’m about even.” – That is darker than it sounds. He brought $200, and he is down to his last $30. – This way he can play a race or two, and call it a day if he loses. If not, he wasn’t lying. He has now broken even.


3. – ” You like anything today ?” – These are loaded words with a razor-sharp edge. It has the same feel of Charlie Brown’s teacher asking him if was ready for the quiz. – You’re being put on center stage, and the hot white light of truth shines directly into your face. – ” Not really, just taking it race by race.” – This means you made a quick jaunt to the track to make some bets and are hoping for the best. – ” Who is your best bet today ?” – This is that same stage with light in your eyes. – ” I kinda’ like the #2 in the third race at What-the-heck Downs.” – If it wins, you save face with your peers, if it doesn’t, you hope the casual conversation passed in one ear and out the other.


4. – You’re having a little luck and the pal you’re standing next to you starts believing this is your day. You feel like a character in the movie Let it Ride, as you’re having a really good day. – Then a 5,000 lb. gorilla walks into the room and jumps on your back. If it feels like you’ve been here before; you have. – ” My man, can I borrow a little from you. I’ll pay you on Monday.” – When these words are spoken they have hidden meaning dating back to the Incas. If you give your buddy some cash while gambling, you’ll watch your bankroll turn into trash after each race. – If you don’t. You’ll get to see his slowest exit from the track, as he’ll hang around a race or two rooting for your horse hoping you’ll change your mind. – Either way, you’re doomed for the day. Upon hearing this, you should start wrapping up your day immediately. – Thank me later !


5. – My brother is the most explosive gambler on the planet. He once hit a $23,000 twin-trifecta with a $2.00 bet. Impossible. – But he has a gift. He starts off with $10, and come back an hour later and he’ll have $1,000. Stay away for another hour and the room will start buzzing as he is up to $2,000. – All is good, and you think he is on fire. So you come back two hours later and he looks at you and says; ” Where have you been ? Do you have $20 until Saturday ?” – That is my man in a nutshell. Oh, he has put out their lights on many occasions, but more times than not he’ll be borrowing lunch money later in the day. – The best story about the explosive gambler was one night I took him out for his birthday. I hit for $500, and figured we’d catch the last three races and head over to play some cards at the casino where he could have some drinks. This plan made his face light up like Christmas as I knew he was out of money, or as a good friend of ours once said. ” I’m temporarily embarrassed at the time.”

We broke even at the track because I was holding the money. We made the drive to the casino, and he ordered a double whiskey and Coke. It was his birthday, and it was my plan to hang out with my brother. Little does he even realize, once he starts drinking he has to go to the men’s room every 15 minutes like clock-work. – He sat down and played Let it Ride. He immediately started winning, and then his small bladder kicked in. ” Hey, order me a drink and play a hand or two. I’ll be right back.” – Good enough for me, and I did as he requested. The only difference was I would take a $100 chip every time I sat down and put it in my pocket. – This went on for hours. He was way up, and getting toasted. He could make a run to the gents room in 30 seconds. – At the end, he made a very big bet and didn’t even look at his cards. ” We’ll play them in the blind.” – This is fun when you pull up a big pair or better, but not so happy when your cards look like Old Maid when they’re turned over. – Once the money was gone, he said “let’s get the hell out of here, as he stumbled to the car.” – I drove, and he talked about what-if, and if-only he had quit. I was used to this talk, and just listened. – When I pulled up to his house, I reached in my pocket and said here’s a few bucks to get you to payday. – “Naaah, you don’t have to, you’ve already done plenty, as he was watching my hand reach into my pocket.” – I pulled out $500 for him, and his face lit up like a spotlight. “Hey ! – We’re back in action !” – Little did he know I took enough to cover my investment and his losses. All he received was the extra. – To this day he still talks about that night many moons ago. The very next day, he was asking me for lunch money about two hours into the racing card.