Derby Days Past

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 4, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, | Comments Off on Derby Days Past

I can remember getting up early. My dad was known as the neighbor who liked to play the races; but on this day that was just fine as he gathered up bets from neighbors, family, and friends to get their action down. – There was nothing better than the excitement of things to come and history to be written. Yeah, it’s fair to say I was a racing fan from an early age.

We would pick up wagers from local neighbors who all wanted to bet the big race; as this is the one day everyone’s a racing fan. – There were no OTB’s or simulcast parlors. If you wanted to get your bet on you either traveled to Louisville or had to have a “man” to take your action. Our man was a 70-something fella my grandpa bet with, my dad, and me.

As I grew up I was allowed to go with dad to a local VFW. – They had a couple guys in the basement taking bets and writing tickets. I thought nothing could be better. The first few years we hunkered around a radio and listened to WLAP 840 am bring the racing action to life at the lodge. I was sure life couldn’t get any better for a gambler.

I had my first real taste of the simulcast explosion in Las Vegas. We were conducting full-cards back in Kentucky, but nothing like the race books in Vegas. – Having every signal known to man was like heaven on earth. I started with the first at New York, and ended the day playing Quarter horses in California. Nothing better. – This long way around the barn was about how we are now treated to a full day of racing on ESPN, TVG, and NBCSN. It used to be a race prior to the Derby, and evolved into a wide-open affair that kept the action coming constant. Once I started getting to watch and wager on all of the races, the ADW explosion took my betting from an older gent to having every race at the click of the mouse.  – But, as we’re all watching from home, office, or anywhere you can stream the race. Take the time to enjoy the moment. Even though we’re not having it on the first Saturday in May, it’s still the Derby. With everything we’ve encountered this year take a minute and reflect. Remember the folks who aren’t here to enjoy the races. Remember how we’ve put it on the bucket list? Go ahead and make plans for next year. Take someone new to the big race, and share the love of the sport of kings. – There is something special about the Derby. Maybe it was the day my grandparents drove to the races and made a stop at the Justice of the Peace in 1937. How my family always gathered to watch the historic event. Yeah, I sure miss being there, but I’ll take my seat and count myself lucky. – There will be better days, so make the trip. It’s worth it, and you’ll have a memory for life.