Bet the Farm

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 14, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Bet the Farm

There is more truth to the title than you’d ever believe. I really have to be careful about how I recall this story because my friend is a regular reader. – ” Hell, I don’t care if you tell the story, just don’t mention my name and tell it right. My wife would be mad as hell if she knew it was true.” 

My new pal was introduced to me by a banker friend. The banker looked at all horse trainers like Bob Baffert; they were pretty big in his eyes. I just didn’t have the heart to tell my buddy most don’t have enough gas money to get home.

So a new friendship was created as he would walk his runners over to the paddock. That was sometimes. Other times he would pay a groom to tend his runner. – Then after a few times, I noticed that when I didn’t see him his horse won and paid a price. Funny how that works.

A hardworking family with cash. His mom and dad were going to hang onto their cash on until the last shovel of dirt hit the box. – The family gathered when his parents passed and the land was broken up. – But, he had an idea that would allow him to fulfill his dream and stay a while longer.  – The same banker secured a loan against the property and he bought out the family farm. Cost him everything but his wife and the dog. He really liked the dog.

We’ll call my horse training pal, Kevin. – He put up a sale sign on 200 of the 400 acres and decided he tried to make some money. Half the land was plenty for him to train. Just a farm that never really seemed to make a flower grow, but he loved learning about horses from his dad. His dream had just begun.

He borrowed $200 from his wife. Told her it was for feed and straw. – She should’ve known he was lying as the horses ate before they did.  – I digress. He went down to a little poker game at the local bar. Older guys, railroaders, and folks from every walk would come in. Once the game began in the backroom it could last for days in the inner-sanctum. People in a small town may drink cheap beer, but they bet with both hands when it came time for the game. Back in the day, it was more popular, but a great way to enjoy the night. You could always count on the draft beer being cold, and cheaters frowned upon greatly. The night began and what a run it was for a new farm owner broke to the gills.

15 hours later, he was up $14,000. People would leave and come back, and new faces would replace the old. But, the game was solid and looked to be his day. After calling his wife telling her he was at Churchill looking at a horse, he was free to go into night number two. The money started to drain from his wallet, and if you sit long enough you’ll be broke or make a good run. Well, the latter was the truth. He turned $14,000 into $23,000. Not bad for a small-time working town in the country. Said his big hand came late in the night. He caught four queens and took it down. They finally asked him to leave and to get a shower and come back later. – The shower and 10 hours of sleep later; he was at the track checking on his crew. All seemed in order and was asked if he’d saddle a horse for a big outfit coming in from Lexington. – Being a pretty good guy and a good hand with the horses. He agreed.

His crew fed and cleaned the shedrow. – He waited for the horse van and met them at the receiving barn. – Once the players met and talked about the race, Kevin was allowed to do what he does best. – He wrapped his legs and was getting ready. As the folks who came up with the horse were ready to go over for dinner and races. – ” Hey, Kevin. – He’s doing really well and should run big.” – Now, everyone who’s involved in racing has said these exact words at least a million times.

Kevin noticed some really extensive leg work had paid off greatly. When he grabbed the program; he was coming off a 6-month layoff with three works under his belt. Solid works and looked fit and cool. Minded his manners and had a big horse quality of behaving like a gentleman. – Kevin hired a groom to walk him over and would meet them in the paddock. He had one stop to make and it was a date with the betting windows. – The horse drew off like his tail was on fire and the poker bankroll swelled to $56,000.

He was able to keep his horses fed and even made a couple nice claims. – He made his way back home and saw 5 vans transporting 10 or 12 well-dressed men. – Walking around with survey gear looking at the land. – Things were not going to be the same on the farm.

Within moments there were handshakes, coffee, and an offer from a company in Arkansas. – These well-dress gents came from Walmart. My new friend had money to burn, or at least buy a new farm and a truck. – He still trains horses; I don’t see him when they win, and he’s still a great guy. I’m sure glad I’ve met him, and finally knowing someone who bet the farm and won makes me smile.