Backstretch Christmas

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 29, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

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The holiday season is special. – We gather to eat, drink and enjoy family and friends. The backside of the track is a place of hard work and dedication to horses. But after the horses are fed, bathed and bedded down. It’s time to celebrate!

In every barn, there are parties taking place. Some have pizza and hoagies for workers and friends to enjoy. Others have the aromatic sweetness of home from other countries. You’ll find everything from gumbo, paella, bbq from every meat in the world and plenty of libations. – The day is one of light-hearted celebration and anyone is welcome. You’ll only be a stranger once and a friend forever.

Earlier in the week, there is a huge party. Dinner and gifts for the children whose parents work on the backstretch. The adults are treated to new gloves, warm sox, coats, and other necessities we may take for granted. – Oh, and don’t forget that Santa makes a grand appearance for photos and chats with all the good little girls and boys. – To say a good time is had by all would not begin to show the warmth of fellowship. – This party was started long ago and many angels continue the good works.  Just seeing the children happy makes the evening magical. Toys and Christmas stories accompanied by a hearty dinner. Nothing better…

So many people who tend to the horses live far from home. The holiday season can be lonely for many, but the backside is a family within a family. – They care for each other and always have your back. – This is a time where nobody is a stranger and you’ll never be alone. I think the world can take a page from the race track backstretch and learn a little more about love and friendship.

I’ve been working at the track for many moons now. It still does my heart good to see the kiddies and parents rejoicing at the yearly shindig. – The same folks who battled it out on the track the night before are laughing and celebrating together. That’s the backstretch. I’ve always called it a world within a world. – Many would fall in love with racing if they only spent a day on the backstretch watching the care for the horses. Seeing people toiling in a labor of love does your heart good. – But this week. There was just as much celebration as work. – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Winning Ponies!