Race Track Life

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 17, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | 1 Comment >>

The windows are high above the track. Six floors to be exact. – You look down and see a smattering of fans walking on an apron that used to be jam-packed. The winds roar past the ancient building where age has taken its toll. – Horses walk slowly toward the starting gate as riders make final adjustments with reins and setting their stirrups. Assistant starters load runners one-by-one as horses’ jostle and bustle in the iron starting gate. With one push of the starter’s button, horses break from the gate in a thundering woosh. – And they’re off!

In the morning I work in the racing office. – We answer phones and take entries for horses to be entered into races. There is a bevy of races that cover every condition for the trainer’s needs. Maiden special weight, condition claiming races, some long and others short and there are a few sweet allowance races that offer up swelled purses.

Trainers and agents call and speak quickly with questions. ” Do you think the race will go? How many entered today? – When will they call the final?” – You never know who you’ll speak with. One call is a small-time trainer who’s been in racing longer than you’ve been alive, and the next comes from a Hall of Fame conditioner looking to get his runner entered into the stake. – It’s the start of the morning and the energy is high.

I’m still new to the process and every day is a learning opportunity. That’s the best part. There are two worlds at the track. There is the front side where players watch and wager, eat, and enjoy the races. – Then there is the backside where the horses live and the racing office is located. Both are dependant on the other, but two separate worlds altogether. I must admit it’s kinda special how the process comes together.

After we get the overnights out and read the program proof for mistakes. We take off and have a few hours to ourselves. – In five hours, we’ll be back for the second part of the day. At night, I take the elevator to the highest point in the building. I walk into a small room where three placing judges will watch the race, call out the top four runners as they fly around the track and decide as a team the entire order of finish. – After the race, we examine the finish and determine if a photo is needed. The picture is then sent to the video room where it is sent out on every screen showing a full-color proof of how the race finished. – Then you have 20 minutes until the next race goes to post. Being a placing judge has been an interesting part of the racing process. – Three of us call out numbers that get posted to the tote board; when they turn for home the numbers go out and the fans watch and root until the horses hit the wire. Very high energy. – Then you get a break until the horses take the track for the next race.

I’ve worked in parking, admissions, marketing, player development, ADW manager, calling races, creating morning line odds, writing, and now working as a racing official. I must admit I won’t be a millionaire, but I’ve never regretted a day my car pulled into the parking lot. – I guess I’m a lucky lad. To be able to do what you’ve enjoyed and made a living is a gift. – It’s not for everybody, but it’s the only job for me. – See you at the races!