The Sounds of Silence

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 31, 2020 in Blogroll, Free Picks and Tips, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, | Comments Off on The Sounds of Silence

I looked over the balcony from the old press box with a smile from ear-to-ear. As a kid in the candy store, there was nothing better. Roses perfectly manicured in the infield winner’s circle, the made-to-order 75-degree day with sunshine. I was there. I had finally made it.

Going to the Derby was a far-away dream. Not because I was 1,000 miles away, it was only a jaunt of 110 miles. I just figured my view would always be on the other side of the TV screen watching. But, my first Derby was special. We were doing the “Turfway Park Report” live from Churchill Downs. Oh my, the Racing Gods were smiling on this day.

I was looking over notes, and couldn’t stop from taking in the view. Incredible. – As the producer was tying into the electric and communicating with the station, I slid on my sunglasses and kept looking around at all of humanity. There were radio shows from every country around the world, and we were all there to talk about horses and the events of the day. Incredible. I had finally made my first Derby. – As we zeroed in on kickoff time, I laid my well-written notes to the side and just spoke from the heart. Easier that way as it poured through my soul into the radio. – I wanted you to experience the Derby with me. Enjoying the scenery, talking horses, and people watching.

As the show ended, I had the best seat in the house right past the wire. The radio crew was gone, and all I had to do was enjoy the endless buffet, chat with racing scribes from around the globe, and bet the races. – Tough job, and I’m glad I got to do it.

The most amazing thing was how the crowd amped up the sound with every passing race. – I had been to many concerts and thought I had heard everything. Well, until now. – When the Derby horses made “the walk” over from the barns it began. When the gate broke, I’d never heard that much noise emanating from every seat. – The sound was incredible and could barely hear the announcer. This is the Derby.

I’ll remember this day, and it will stay with me forever. For a racing fan, this was Heaven on earth. – As we are a day away from the post draw and a handful of days from the 146th running. This year will be eerily quiet. For the first time in 146 years, there will be no fans in the stands. Two world wars, The Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. A Pandemic, Great Depression, and racial conflict in our country over civil rights. – Yeah, the Twin Spires has stood during many tough times in our country. And it will be looking over a quiet grandstand and empty seats this weekend.

I guess part of me is sad wishing for that perfect day on the first Saturday in May long ago. It was perfect, pristine, and chock-full of excitement. If a man could ever be so humbled, excited, and fighting back tears behind his slick sunglasses this was the day. – I wish my Dad could have been with me back then as he used to really love the races, but has gravitated to the rapid-fire gaming action of video poker. Man, what a day it would have been. No lines, a non-stop lunch, and betting lines ten feet from my seat. Yeah, it was perfect.

What I’m going to miss are the sights and sounds. Young people dressed to the nines rubbing shoulders with hardcore gamblers in shorts and t-shirts. The melting pot of humanity is truly the race track as you’ll never see people congregating for the “most exciting two minutes in sports” like this event. The people-watching alone is worth the price of admission. When the gates break; all hell breaks loose as every person in the country becomes a racing fan for two minutes. This is a thing of beauty.

But this year will be different. – The races will run, trophies presented, and this is one of the best times to be a horse racing fan for gambling. The pools are strong and you’ll get more than fair value on no matter who you pick. – All is great, and I have to dream off to the gate break for the Derby. I wonder what it will sound like. When they turn for home will it feel the same? I hope the 17 runners slated to go to the post have a safe and uneventful trip. – I’ll be watching on my big screen TV wishing I was there.

For my first glimpse of runners, grab a pen and sit back with a mint julep and enjoy. – Ready or not, here they come.

#1 – Tiz the Law = Everything has been perfect for this guy, and my only knock was reading he cocks his head to the right when turning for home. He is the chalk for this event and would have been for the first Saturday in May. – The one to beat.

#2 – Art Collector = I have been watching Thomas Drury Jr, for years bringing horses to River Downs, Ellis, Churchill, and Keeneland. There are too many tracks to mention, but you could tell it was only a matter of time before this good-guy-of-racing would be on center stage. – His works have been sparkling and his last two races are the stuff winners are made from. I’m openly rooting for my friend Tommy Drury. I would love to see his smiling face in the winner’s circle. If there was ever a horse that needed to win for one of the good guys, it’s Tommy. -Good luck my friend. We’re all rooting for you.

#3 – Honor A P = He glides over the track and does things effortlessly. Greatness begets greatness as his great-grandfather Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown. He only has three starts in eight months and 55-year-old Mike Smith plans on giving his all for trainer John Sheriffs.

As we have the post draw for the Oaks the feeling will set in. -We’ll be working on some free selections for the undercard for power plays to make your day a winner. – So be sure to tune-in to the Winning Ponies Radio Show with John Engelhardt this week. There will be free selections, blogs, and the one-of-a-kind Winning Ponies EZ Win Forms to make your day a winner. What are ya’ waiting for? – It’s almost post time!