Another Circuit Around the Sun

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 2, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

I would skip my last class in high school and run out to my car. – Oh, the feeling of being a young man and missing study hall. I was carrying over bets for my teacher. – I was allowed to drive the expressway and for a 17-year-old this was freedom personified.

River Downs was a little track near the Ohio River. It used to be Coney Island Race Course in 1925, but for me, it was Saratoga 15 minutes from my home. РI would jog into the track all the while looking for a program or better a Daily Racing Form discarded by an early leaving patron. РAs I remember, I always seemed to find one.

I would have the final four races. – It wasn’t a G1 Stake, but for me, there was nothing better. – For most kids, this was a time to test your parents and find yourself by acting like a tough guy. For me, my Dad knew I loved the races and the worst thing that could happen I could come home $15 less in my wallet. – Looking back, he knew me and our relationship continues talking horses.

There was a super article in the DRF from Mike Watchmaker, and it took me back to my drives to the “River.” – Windows down with my AM/FM converter taking my oldie radio into the present. – There was a smile from ear-to-ear. – Today, River Downs would have been 94-years-old. With the closing of Suffolk after 84 years, and Portland Meadows racing for the last 73 years are both now closed. I find myself a little reminiscent.

As I began, it is another year around the sun. – That means I’m another year older. – For anyone who snickers or hands me an AARP application. The idea is to get older. – Every day is a great one. Try not having one. – Getting older is a pleasure with a few more bumps and aches. But that’s ok. Goes along with the territory.

My days in the sun at River were magical. As quoted in the movie Rounders; “you can’t remember the big scores that built your bankroll, but you can recall with great detail every bad beat.” – I can tell you both. – The day I boxed two 25-1 shots in an exacta and they ran one-two. – The day I caught my first superfecta. – How about the HUGE place wager at Saratoga that paid $7.80 to place. That was a sweetie.

Days standing in the golden sun with my Dad and sharing a common love for the action of racing were magical. – As I ventured into racing, I worked with John C. Engelhardt. – John is one-of-a-kind. He knows everyone at every track and they know him. There was always a hardy handshake and smile when people met him. – I had the opportunity to be Marketing Director and one-half of the “Regular Guys.” – It was a light-hearted TV show that was meant to educate, inform, and entertain. A brainchild of Cary Charlson who owned Charlson Broadcasting who went on to greater things. – Cary wanted a “regular” fella who knew the game and could reach through the screen and have fun teaching fans how to handicap. – I just stopped in for the final five years of River Downs and John anointed me the second half of the entry of the “Regular Guys.” – My greatest story of how so many varied people watched who came to Keeneland. River Downs was sold to become Belterra Park, and I had been hired at Keeneland. – I was standing in a doorway chatting with an executive when I could feel someone behind my back. – It was Nick Nicholson / President of Keeneland. – I extended my hand and said; “Hello, Mr. Nicholson, I’m – I know who you are. You’re one of the Regular Guys, Ed Meyer.”¬† If John knew his brand had extended to the hallowed grounds of Keeneland. He would have loved it!

Back to my skipping class. – Dad wouldn’t have been happy, but somewhere in his heart, he knew where my first love lived. – I won about $30 and my teacher won $15. Good day all around, and the drive back was like a ticker-tape parade.

Another year getting to do what I love in work and free time. – I’ve had some bumps in the road, but who hasn’t? I think it makes for interesting people. Anyone can trot around the bases without swinging the bat. – My first love is still alive and thriving. I love any day I get to play and watch the big races. It has a grip on my heart and I doubt it will ever leave. – I wish all of you happiness, health, and the best of luck!