The Happy Horseplayer – August

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 11, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Happy Horseplayer – August

It’s your old friend the HH, and I’m enjoying the summer. How about you? – I know it’s upside down and doesn’t make much sense. But, there’s plenty to enjoy. About now we’d start heading toward Labor Day as the end of summer. Now, it will be Derby Day weekend. Crazy, huh? – But, if we sit back and just take it in. There’s plenty to enjoy. Trust me, you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat rooting home your runner as they turn into the stretch.


Derby dreams – One step closer to reality

Everyone watches and enjoys. It’s rare to know someone in the game who has a starter in the gate in Louisville. Until now. – Louisville native Thomas Drury Jr. won his first race in 1991. A protege’ of Frankie Brothers spent his time building a reputation. One of hard work and solid horsemanship. Yeah, just like they did in the old school; but Tommy is a breath of fresh air for the sport. – Active on social media and loves a good joke (especially when he’s on the receiving end). Good guy all around and respected everywhere he goes. That’s what makes him special. He has that spark in his step and savors every win like it’s the big one.

I first saw him bringing horses to River Downs on occasion. They kept coming and got better with every start. – His efforts started paying off as he won his first stakes win with Model’s Memo in 2008. – When Bruce Lunsford transferred Art Collector to his care. This is where the magical journey begins.

Normally, he would bring horses back from an effort, freshen them up, then head back to another trainer. But, Lunsford left a few in his barn. COVID-19 shuffled the racing world quite a bit and as in life. We adjust to the changes good and bad and look forward with optimism. – Tommy Drury is just what Art Collector needed when Lunsford entrusted him to Team Drury. I’m not sure where he would have been headed, but with a little luck and lot of hard work. The first Saturday in September may be special for his entire team.

It seems as if the Bernardini colt just woke up on November 30, 2019. He’s rolled off four straight wins, and now make it five with an impressive win in the Ellis Park Derby. – It looks like the starting gate in Louisville is in his future.

Tom used to shoot me messages when I wasn’t feeling well and always made me feel good. – After each win, I send him personal messages congratulating one of the good guys of racing. – He likes my enthusiastic race calls, where I try and come up with something clever to capture another Drury win. – He has a versatile colt in his care, and one helluva shot to wear the roses. – I would love to see his smiling face with sunglasses hiding back the excitement. – Best of luck, Tommy. You getting a shot at the Derby is like all of us going to the big dance. All of your fans will be rooting like crazy, and I’m sure many will back up their love with a few bucks. – See you in the winner’s circle!


Enjoy the ride

As we bitch and moan about the new schedule of events this year we should take a moment. – A moment to be grateful that racing is still being conducted and mostly in front of fans. A moment to enjoy the game we love. A moment to appreciate the sacrifices of the horsemen that put on the show.

As they walk the stretch you’ll see a mask on every groom. – As you enter the paddock all personnel who oversee the regulations have one on all day. – The riders have one on inside the jocks room and come out to meet their mounts with colorful masks protecting themselves and each other. – The gate crew, ambulance staff, and everyone working at the track sports a mask.

We offer free masks to anyone who enters, and a multitude of announcements to keep us all safe. Program ads, signage, and constant disinfecting throughout the day to keep guests and employees safe. – The sport is still going on. – We still have plenty to tend behind the scenes. But, we’re going to get there. Keeping the game safe for all involved and retaining a feeling of normalcy. That’s the goal. – Racing is one of the only sports where fans can come out and enjoy. Be grateful for the efforts of many to make the game safer for all.

Until next month, this is your old friend The Happy Horseplayer wishing you the best of luck, and safety for you and yours during these uncertain times. – Just follow the rules, keep you and others safe, and we’ll be talking Derby before you know it!