The Feeling That Only Racing Can Bring

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 27, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Feeling That Only Racing Can Bring

We all remember our first date, first kiss, wedding, and when you held your baby for the first time. These are the important dates that never leave you. But when it comes time to enjoying a day at the races, this gambler has done some soul searching and came up with a few feelings that have never left for the majority of my life.

The first time I made my trek to Latonia Race Course was magical. I sat in the back of the convertible while my dad drove with my grandpa in the front seat. – On the days it was just dad and myself, I was sitting shotgun as we talked about the four races we are going to watch and wager. – There was nothing in the world like driving out to catch the last three or four races. I was one of the guys, and spending time with my dad was great. – The drive home was either a celebration of winning money or an excuse laden reason why the big horse didn’t win. Either way, it was pure joy and I’d love to climb in the time machine and make that drive again.

My first daily double was easy. It was a rider who would have 15 wins on the year and spent his time as an EMT on the Lexington Fire Department. – He rode like Eddie Arcaro and my $2 straight DD paid $12. – With the elation of a young man who won the Irish Sweepstakes, the day was dampened with an announcement of the rest of the card was being canceled and urged all to go home immediately. The “Blizzard of 1978” was upon and the skies were as dark as night as I didn’t even get to cash my ticket. – Five weeks later we finally made our way out to the races and a 12-year-old boy had broken his maiden. – Thank you, Carl Faulconer. I always tell him the story anytime I see him.

Every first date was at the races. I figured if they could have a good time betting the ponies and having a couple beers, they were my kind of gal. – The fun was non-stop and only one didn’t like going. It just so happens she was the gal I married.

There is a feeling like no other gambling can bring when you watch your longshot creep up the rail and win in the shadow of the wire. Casino machines just don’t compare, as I’ve never seen a bunch of people high fiving around a slot machine. But, to each his own. I’ll take a day at the races every time.

I’ve owned horses and there was nothing like making a house payment each month to pay for the cost, or that’s what it felt like when they didn’t win. – I now know why they call it the “Sport of Kings.” – I loved getting into the winner’s circle with our silks on display. I was ten feet tall. For a college kid with two buddies as owners, what more could a horseplayer ask for?

My dad mainly bets from home these days, and we still talk a bit about the races. He loves the ease of betting from his office den in comfort. – He goes out a time or two each summer, and he loves to play video poker more and more. – He is the guy I credit showing me the love of the game. Even though he has waned from the ponies a bit, my first love is still holding onto my heart.  – Thanks, Dad.

Working in racing meant working every holiday except Christmas and Easter as others gathered with family. My group always made accommodations by having it later for me. – There has never been a time as my car pulled up that I didn’t love my job. That is rare, and even more as folks retire or pass away. The new group replacing them doesn’t have that love in their hearts for the excitement of racing. They work and treat it like any job. For me, it was a privilege to be a part of the pageantry and history.

The folks I knew by name and where they sat are slowly departing. I see new players come and go but nothing like the loyal gamblers who drove hours to bet nine races. – I can remember a judge who drove from London, Kentucky every night in his white caddy. – “Judge, we just canceled tonight for cold weather. – Damn, somebody’s gonna get hung tomorrow for sure!” Just a joke as he was there the next night parking in valet.

I’ve always said the best part of racing is the people. Horses do great things and eventually fade into the pages of history, but the people last forever. What they said, the big wins and bad beats. – I loved the names of the characters straight from a Damon Runyon novel:

The Fox

Louie the Lip

Big Head


Fat Paul

The Praying Mantis


John R

London Calling

The Black Cat

Joe the Jinx

George the Greek

Big Mike

Bowling Ball

The Saint


Just to name a few. – But as I said, the people always stood out as the stars of the game, as without them they would race for blue ribbons. Gamblers make the game go round, and this is one of the only times where the house wants to see you win every race for every day. I’m one of those good old gamblers rooting home my ponies. – I enjoyed the chats, the bitching, and taking care of the players. The pleasure was all mine.

As I have a birthday this Friday, I’m gonna celebrate by pulling my car into the lot and speaking with friends all the way up to the announcer’s booth. – I’m going to enjoy calling eight live races with two stakes and relish the time doing what I love. – That’s the feeling that only racing can bring. – If you doubt any word, go ahead and give it a try. Betcha’ love it!