Reflections on a Career in Racing

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 17, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

I’ve been doing some reflection. There’s so much to be grateful, and so many people that helped me, taught me, and showed me there was only one job for me. – Everyday my car pulled into my parking spot I’ve never regretted a minute.

We all start off somewhere. I began at 19-years-old in the parking lot as a second job. I didn’t want to park cars, it was an excuse to be at the track and bet horses. That was my love.- I had a boss who used to ask me to help and assist with many events, programs, and ideas. He gave me a little bump and I became the parking manager. But all the while I found myself helping him do charity work as a behind the scenes fella. – He received awards and accolades and I used to get a 12-pack at the end of the night. – It took about four or five years until I stopped believing in Santa and realized he was only going to let me go so far as long as I was under his thumb. – He needed my ideas and plans. I wanted to be a part of the sport and if this was how I started so be it. He taught me many things and most weren’t good. But one thing he taught me that stays with me to this day. “Don’t hold people down because they may offer you some competition.” – My rule was to hire people who were smarter than me and look for the ones who wanted to be a part of the team. My favorite line as they moved on was “I would consider it an honor to work for you someday.” – I’ve had the best run since that time, and I look back with tear filled eyes for the many employees, interns, and friends I have helped find their way into the industry. – I wanted to share my passion, and they put in the time. – Thank you for teaching me what not to do. I sleep better at night, and it’s my face I shave when looking in the mirror. I see a happy man who enjoys helping others and it continues to this day.

After this time wasted, I worked for a hard-ass boss who taught me more than anyone. – He loved to intimidate, but did it to keep order. – After my time being the lap dog for another boss, I never wanted to do that again. This time it was going to be different. In the words of Fast Eddie Felson from the Hustler; “Fast and loose. I’m gonna’ play fast and loose.” – He was the kind of boss who respected someone who would stand up than roll over. – He taught me to believe in myself and to not be afraid to make my ideas come to fruition. – The rope he gave me was incredible, and I was on my way to doing some really cool things in racing. On-air handicapping, radio shows, interviews, player seminars, player events, and handling every big player who came in the door. He gave me plenty of slack and I ran like a jail break prisoner. – He taught me many things and is one of the key cogs at a huge racetrack. – Thanks for believing in me and taking the time.

I had a friend who was one of the best race callers in the business. – No, he didn’t teach me how to call races as so many people claim happened for them. That is how many race callers start a conversation about what they do. They act as if the person could teach them for hours everyday. Bullshit. – They may have met and known them for a little bit, and worked like hell to overcome the fear and sweat rolling down their back. They may have had a few good tips, but they didn’t move in with them and write it down in stone. – This man was a VP in a racing related business and left the microphone after being stabbed in the back by one of the voices that still calls today. But, I digress.

In the TV studio there was a large desk and I would go in an hour prior just to handicap the races and get my words together. – That was until “The Speaker of the House” came in and gave me some great advice. – “I know you love handicapping and you’re good. You look just a little nervous.” – He couldn’t have been more right and I was all ears. – ” They don’t want to sleep with you. They think you have the secret sauce and you need to impart your wisdom. Loosen up a bit and you’ll be great.” – I lit up a cigar and we yacked as friends until it was time to go on. After I walked out for the first race he was standing outside the door watching patrons gaze at a new face on TV talking horses. – “Hollywood. Your new name is Hollywood. Great job my friend. You’re going to be just fine.” – This was coming from a man who called races at 18-years-old at Rockingham, New York, Louisville, Kentucky, and his final job before being hanging up the mic was “The Voice of Chicago Racing” following the late-great Phil Georgeff. – I was hooked and it was his short chat with me that changed my attitude. – We became friends, and he left us way too early. I still think of him often to this day. – When I received my first announcing job I was in the booth thinking to myself. “Man, you wouldn’t believe what I have the opportunity to do. Wait, yes you would. You were the one who taught me to believe in myself.” – Thank you my friend. I’ve had one helluva a run.

With the good Lord willing I’m not done yet. – I love the game and can’t wait to go back to work calling races, handicapping, and chatting with the people. The last part believe it or not can be the best part. – I’m a lucky man. I’ve got to do what I wanted and there hasn’t been a moment I’ve regretted. I may not have a new car and a mansion, but to live the life you wanted is more than you can ask for. – Thank you to the many who have shown me the way and opened doors that were closed.