Why I Became a Gambler

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 21, 2024 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Why I Became a Gambler

There’s a certain feel when the dice careen off chips and come spinning to a halt. As the reels spin with a whirl of colors and dreams to come. You peek at your hole cards and find that pair of bullets staring back at you as you reach deep for composure and cool. People can smell the aroma of good and bad luck. – But, when you see a throng of runners make the bend and turn for home there’s a certain feeling all to its own. You feel your heart race as they close down the homestretch. Your body starts to vibrate. The bounce begins where you can’t stop moving quicker as they reach the final 16th and fortune awaits. Watch a race being run live and you’ll see the smacker who holds his Form tightly urging his horse with every stride, or the fat man with a cigar start vigorously going to the right-hand whip with his rolled-up program.  – Those are my people and just one reason why I love gambling.

When Greyhound Racing ended in Florida a gal pal asked me to make a trip. In my head, I could hear this voice resonate;” Why the hell would I want to go there? No Dog Racing, Jai Alai is a long memory at many Frontons. Why go there? It’s an old person’s paradise with dinner specials at 4pm.” – I made gambling a part of my trip. Do it all, make it exciting.

Harness Racing was a bridge evening. It sure wasn’t Thoroughbreds, but just enough action to get you to the next trip to see real horses. – Many a summer night spent with the old man making double-header trips from River Downs in the daytime; a box of Lee’s chicken in between, and off to Latonia Trots. One is now Belterra and the other is Turfway Park. – What I wouldn’t give to be 20 years younger and make that trip in the old white truck again.

When I made my first trip to Keeneland on a Saturday ” the worst day of the week for the crowd size.” – I thought I was in Heaven. – Eight live races with one Daily Double. Pat Day would win 5 races and pay an average of $3.20. But I still loved it. I made a trip with my brother when our boss let us off early, and we drove a purple GT of my friends going way past the speed limit. That was the day we made our biggest bet to date. $50 each for an exacta box and $50 to win on a horse named Risen Star. The exacta paid $19.20 and we thought we were the ‘Kings of the Bluegrass.” – I’ve won plenty more, but that was my favorite day as we left early due to the crowd and listened to the live race call on WLAP 630am in Lexington.

I made friends at the races; won and lost, and shared time with family. – I once heard horrible words in a race track meeting. “We need to do something special for the guests.” – They might as well tossed me out. I’m a gambler. I love the way it sounds, and feels, and makes my heart skip a beat to this day. – These have been some of the best days and years of my life. It gave me a hobby, a game to fall in love with, and employment for the past 35 years. – Yeah, without a doubt. Being called a gambler is like being part of a fraternity where we are all Grand Poobas.