Life is on the Wire – The Rest is Just Waiting

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 28, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Life is on the Wire – The Rest is Just Waiting

From my early days going to the races with my dad. I always wanted to work in racing. Quoting Papa Wallenda pretty much sums up my travels in Thoroughbred racing.

My first job at the track was really exciting, or that’s what I thought. I had a slick green windbreaker and khaki shorts with my polo tucked in. A cool new cap to begin the year, and all the cars a kid could park. – I had made it. I was working in racing.

For $28 a day, I was there by 5 pm. My boss would drive around in a little Subaru like a general observing his troops while he had a big Husman’s chip can in the front seat. The party container bag was in the back seat for easy consumption and the chip tin held a 12-pack of Budweiser perfectly. My boss had his troops ready to do battle with parking cars in straight lines while he sat at the end of the lot a 1/4 mile away and listened to sports talk and drank beer. Yeah, I had finally broken into the industry.

As the years drifted past, I noticed that racing had some of the most colorful characters in the world. For me, that’s the best part of the game. “Race Track World” was a universe inside the one we know. Believe it or not, it’s one of the most loyal places I have ever worked. People take care of their own, and every job was hard to come by as it was offered out within the inner-sanctum. Even ones at $28 per day parking cars in the cold and rain.

Over the years, I graduated to manage the same parking lot, and eventually worked my way inside. – What I learned for $28 a day was the best training for the race track.

  1. – Treat people with respect
  2. – Be courteous
  3. – Be discreet – Sometimes gamblers don’t want to be known, and others love the attention.
  4.  – If you’re going to drink beer, keep it in the trunk and drink out of a “Big Gulp” cup. – This is camouflage at the highest level.

Over the years, I’ve had one helluva a time. I’m not going to retire rich and famous, but the memories will last a lifetime.

I ventured into the building and became the Race Book Manager for Turfway Park. This was a good intro getting to know the lifeblood of the sport. Keep these people happy and you’ll make loyal returning customers. – I also learned the most important job task. Be available. When you are working, spend your time in plain sight. This gives the players a person to speak with. It may be a complaint, a problem, a request, or just some good talk about the races. People enjoy having a person to access. This job taught me that the folks in the seats keep the lights on and payroll met.

Director of Marketing. This was for River Downs working with my to-be-longtime friend John Engelhardt. This was a position where I learned on-the-job as my interest grew daily. Promotions, events, budgets, radio shows, The Regular Guy Show, and working with energetic college students as interns. This was a job like no other, and I doubt I’ll have another like this one. I learned more, made contacts I have stayed in touch with, and learned what a gem the little track can be.

ADW Coordinator was a dream job. I had the opportunity to go to work for Keenland. It was like a AAA ballplayer being called up by the Yankees. – The job was to get the word out about the betting site, design player events, and handicap in written form and on the radio. – I must admit it didn’t seem like it could work as the landscape was packed with ADW’s. Another fish in the pond wouldn’t make much of a difference, but the opportunity was once in a lifetime. It was 13 months of working with some of the best people in racing. How many times have you been a Yankee?

Belterra Park was a new opportunity. – River Downs had sold the property, and not many of us were retained. My good friend John Engelhardt tossed my name in the ring for track announcer/morning line odds-maker. I handle the Twitter updates for racing and assist in some brainstorming. – It’s a great job and there’s never a day I regret being there when my car pulls into the parking lot. – Small track and even though this is my 6th year it still feels new. I guess that’s when you love something.

In addition to working at various tracks, I have been here with the Winning Ponies family since 2008. – Getting to talk about racing, handicapping, and writing about the colorful characters in the sport has been a labor of love. They have given me a blank slate and been incredible to work with. – We started the Winning Ponies Radio Show which I passed the baton to my friend John Engelhardt, and continue to express myself on a site that is dedicated to making players enjoy the process of playing the races. They really have a quality product and in my travels have met many people who know my name from being a part of their team. – Winning Ponies is your one-stop-shop for all things racing. The Winning Ponies Radio Show, blogs, stories, and free selections. If you’re here already, look around and see for yourself. I did, and I’ve been here since 2008 looking forward to many more years. – (Bets) of luck my friends!