Memory Lane / Preakness Day

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 22, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

We all have a story or two about race track stories. – I’ve always said the people are the best part of the track. – A short conversation turned into an hour long walk down memory lane with a friend who has worked in the industry all of her life. – Oh, how I long for the old days. Here are a couple of items on our gab list.


I asked how the Preakness crowd was at their track?

” There were hardly any of the seats used, and most came and went to make a bet. – No energy and the place echoed like a ghost town. – As we talked about the big day and what it used to be. A flood of memories came rolling back to me.”


Have you seen any of the old faces? 

” The old faces are starting to fade. – They are replaced by their adult kids and new people who come and go. – There are no reservations and the tables are empty. It’s pretty sad when you look down and remember what it used to look like.”


I can remember handicapping seminars, free coffee for early birds, and a free contest for players looking to win a few bucks. – The place was jumping. – There was an energy that was hard to believe. I used to get to work a couple of hours early and there would be 40-50 people waiting outside the doors. – It was exciting just pulling into the parking lot and the day never disappointed.


The Preakness handle set an all-time record of $99,852,653. – Being able to wager on a bevy of ADW’s has hurt making the trek to the track. – Everyone has an idea on how to fix the day but it may be too late. Or, is it?

How about understanding the game is open to new ideas? – The old guard is starting to drift away and we need to target the new faces. -Here are a couple of ideas that may work. No harm in trying and what do they really have to lose?

1. – Have a food truck party on the empty track apron. – There is no live racing and why not have a bevy of upscale and down-home cooking? – Fans enjoy and food makes everything a party.

2. – How about a duo of acoustic players for a few hours? – Couldn’t be an arm and leg expense.

3. – Get your employees involved. – Have small games for kiddie prizes. – Local restaurants are always glad to help out with small trinkets for the kids. – Face painting, the track mascot, and let them know you’re glad they came out.

4. – How about trying to do Weiner dog races? – Family fun at the low cost of zero. – These are really a hoot!

5. – Get your “brass” out and about. – No hiding in the office, get out and meet the people. You don’t have to knock on doors, they’re already there. – People like to meet who’s in charge.

6. – Have a drawing for a dinner for four every half hour. – Great bounce back prizes and they’ll plan on coming out for the live races.

7. – Most tracks turn off wi-fi so players won’t use computers or phones to wager. – They can do that anywhere, and you’ll just lose handle. – If they are there, you may get a few more wagers. – What do you have to lose? You can always turn it back off and go back to empty seats.


Just ideas, but they can make a crowd of 100 turn into 300 for about a $1,000 bucks. – Not because that is pennies, but it’s a low-cost way to reach out and showcase your venue. If you have them, they might make a wager. – That’s where it all begins. – I think we’ve taken away the fun and become complacent. You can never go wrong with passing out vintage hats or glasses. Fans and players love them.

I’ve been working in racing for a long time, and we better try and show our venues before people forget how to get there.