You Dirty Rat !

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 4, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

I’m not trying to pull off a James Cagney line, but if I have a few beers there’s no telling. – I’ve been one lucky guy. – I have worked in racing, and met some of the biggest names. I’ve watched some of the marquee races, and had a birds-eye view to history being made. But one of my favorite jobs over the years had nothing to do with horses. But it sure had plenty to do with gambling for a good cause.

Long before I ever had the opportunity to call Thoroughbred races. I was the official announcer at the “Ludlow Derby Rat Races.”  -Yep,you heard it right. Rat races.  – They were actually mice with numbers glued on. There was a large replica of the city of Ludlow, Kentucky. It just so happened to be my hometown, but I got my first big break from one of the regular players at Turfway Park.

We would have about 2,000 people show, and if you couldn’t find any of the tri-state doctors, lawyers, or judges. They could be found in the large gym betting the “rat races.” – They had a computer program that had a “take-out “program for the wagering, and it was their biggest fund raiser. -They had basketball and baseball teams for local youth, and we all know it’s not free. – People who were raised in the area and those who were transplants would come out in mass. You would see the movers and shakers, and the big event goers. There was ice cold beer, a big grill going all night, and a DJ playing music in between races. – By the end of the night it was common place for a few of the hot gals to dance on the tables topless. Yeah, its fair to say a good time was had by all.

The races were a great time and the “Ludlow Derby” would take place on Oaks night before the Derby. I had more fun than the law allowed, and money was raised like crazy. – We would have 10 races, and at the end there was an auction for “syndicates” to purchase a rat and they would run for 1/2 of the auction monies. In the past they would raise about $500 for the auction and the charity would get $250 and the winners would get $250. – That was before the “big man” showed up drinking and calling the races. I was happy to do this and it was for the kids, so all bets were off. – I started the auction and the music played thumping – bumping sounds as I asked the gals to hit the tables and show their “support” for the kids by dancing. – The place would be crazy, and the bids were so jacked up it made the old ways look lame. Bob Hope would have been proud of my ideas to raise money for the kids. – The last “Derby” I called and played auctioneer, we raised $8,000 in monies with $4,000 going to the winners of the big race. – As  the mice ran with the close circuit TV putting out the action and mega-betting taking place, it was one of the best non-racing betting events I had ever taken part in.

I was asked by my girlfriend this evening if I ever heard of the “Ludlow Rat Races.” – ” Yeah, I knew a little about the event, and heard it was a great time.” – ” We should go down and support the kids.” – I didn’t know how to tell her about my one night a year craziness, and how the who’s-who in the area would act like wild college kids for the night. – ” Yeah, honey. I’m sure it would be a good time. Maybe we should take a ride down.” – I guess I have a little time to get my story straight and let her know I used to be the MC of the wildest night in Northern Kentucky. – But hey, it’s was for the kids, and nobody got hurt…..