Racing in the Time of Corona

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 25, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>


What will you do? – Back to the old grind or begin a new chapter? – I think we all ponder these thoughts but hold them under our breath. That’s all good for many, but not for me. It’s going to be a whole new time for this fella when the new day arrives.

As we live in the times of Corona, we’ve had to take a big step back. – Our lives have changed quite a bit. – We live in a smaller version of what we once had and are grateful. Now, I know it’s for the good of all keeping the enemy at bay secluding ourselves in a small bubble. But that’s what the doctor ordered. –  For now.

I’ve started to keep a journal about what I’m going to do when the smoke clears. – First, I’m going to stop at that little Mexican restaurant in Lexington. I’ve always driven past, and never took the time to stop and enjoy the fare. But, this time. I’ll take the time to enjoy the day.

Second, these past few years have been filled with a few health challenges. – I’ve been kept from going to my favorite track; Keeneland. – I’m going to contact a friend who can help with some nice tickets and enjoy a day at the races overlooking the paddock. – Beautiful place. Guests dressed up and enjoying a day at the races. – You know, the way it was meant to be. Not rushed and hurried, but rather savored like a fine wine or a Cuban cigar. – Speaking of that cigar. It’s been donkey’s years since I’ve smoked. – I’m going to buy a Maker’s Mark hand-rolled cigar and enjoy it on the apron with the sun on my face. – Nothing like it.

Third. I have a few pals who always ask but I seem to find a way to wriggle out of taking the time to hit the track. – No more. If I really want to go; off and away I’ll travel. – Nothing like enjoying a day at the races with folks you enjoy. – Savor the day and remember each moment.

These are just the things I’ll do on day one. It will be the first of many for the second chance we ask. – This time has refocused me on the things that matter. – As I’ve been working at Turfway Park these past months, I’ve enjoyed learning a whole new facet of the racing world. – For decades I’ve worked on the front side in a marketing / handicapping role. Radio, TV, and handicapping seminars. – Working in the racing office has been a whole new day. Learning the ropes of how the game comes together has been enjoyable. Seeing the trainers and grooms on the front side is a different game. I’ve had the opportunity to see them in their world up close.

During the time of quarantine and social distancing, we’ve appreciated the little things. – There are no sports being played with no more wagers at the sportsbook you use to enjoy. – But a handful of tracks have been allowed to race. Once again, it’s the only game in town if you want to get your bet on. – It’s kinda like going back in a time machine when casinos were only allowed in Vegas and Atlantic City. Sportsbook operations were a faraway dream, and racetracks were the only legal way to wager. – These were glorious times and we’ve been treated to a little blast from the past.

Full fields, and heart-pounding Thoroughbred action. – Even the TV handicappers work from remote locations as races are run with no cheering fans in the stands. – Eerie watching the first race, but it allowed me to enjoy the game like it was my first trip. You watch and wager by computer and mobile device and the handle has been through the roof.  This short term gain for the sport has really made me stand back and take it all in. – I despise the reason for the handle spike, but it’s been interesting to see.

As monies swell the pools it makes me wonder what we’ve been doing wrong. – You know, losing out to the competition.  In a world of rapid-fire fast-paced gaming, there’s no patience for a 20-minute lull between races. But, when it’s the only game around gamblers love it. – I think we need to address these areas when the fog lifts and we’re back to a new day. Give the fans what they want. After all, it’s their game to play. – No more charging for valet parking, long lines for stale food, and outdated places to sit and watch. – We’ll have a second chance to fix what ails the sport we love.

If you haven’t been watching, some of the major sports networks have been showcasing racing. Except for the one who showed the rock skipping championship of 2004. But, I digress. – We need to look forward and not dwell on this time. We are resilient. It will come to pass but not for now. – Do what is being asked and relish the small treat of enjoying the races from home. – Get to know your family and friends again via electronic assistance and take a deep cleansing breath. Make plans for that restaurant you’ll visit when you’re allowed and take the time. – Call your Mom, walk the dog more, and go see relatives we’ve been too busy to visit. – I’m making plans, but in the meantime using this time to reboot. Clear my head and enjoy the small things we’ve taken for granted. – I hope when the new day arrives we stop staring at cell phones with a table full of friends or family. We’ll watch children play and enjoy the errands we use to call to-do lists. This time is scary and uncertain. But it has allowed me to slow down and pay attention to what matters.

Yeah, when the smoke clears. – Oh, and if you’re looking for me I’ll be the guy driving with his sunroof open to his favorite track. – Until then, I’ll see you at the races. Soon…