The Biz of Racing

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 22, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Biz of Racing

I have worked in every job imaginable. Parking lot kid at 18-years, and from there I’ve had many opportunities for radio, TV handicapping, odds making. track announcer, player development manager, ADW coordinator, and a host of other jobs. Yes, it’s been a great run! – But as of late, I’ve been approached about picking up another job. One that is new to me, but for some reason keeps popping its head up.

I used to watch agents back in the day walking around the track with a program in their pocket with the name of the riders and the weight they carry on the outside of the condition book. – I guess this was race track advertising at its best over the years. But, it seemed like everyone was doing it, and trainers would see agents down in the paddock and the condition book with names.

The past years going back to River Downs, a few riders asked me to take their book. – I would accept mounts for them for a 25 – 30% cut of what they made. Sounded good, but you spend 12 hours a day on the phone. And, if riders were trying to reach out to anyone, they could have been desperate. – I stayed away as I didn’t want to lack the skill set to get the riders in a good position.

As the years have gone by, I have gotten to know a great number of trainers. Some come up to the booth to watch a race, and we just shoot the breeze. – But, back comes that young rider hungry to make a mark in the sport. Each year, I find myself wanting to investigate a little further and see if this would work out. I like to help others and communicate well with the trainers. Many other track announcers do this as part of their income, and in the off-season I could spend more time trying to find the right young rider to bring along into the sport.

I have spoken to many agents and most just get mounts and collect a check per their agreements. Most young riders may not speak English, or have any skills with money. They are so young that most just squander away some of their best-earning years. But, maybe there is a way to keep them growing professionally and allow them to become more comfortable in the sport.

I asked a well-known agent what does he do for riders that can’t speak English? – ” Tough, let another rider help who can speak for them in the paddock.” To me, this sounded empty. There was more that could be done.

What about helping them set up living arrangements? If they have trouble communicating, how about some English as a second language class. – When and if they start making money, arrange for them to meet a money manager to help them invest and keep afloat. – Am I being too naive, or is this just wishful thinking? – My goal would be to get them acclimated and have a professional handle their money. As time progresses, they will be able to handle business and plan for the future. I guess I’m just new to thinking about trying my hand. But, for the hardworking men and women, I’m sure they would appreciate the help getting started.

Oh well, another season of racing is coming to an end. – 12 days to be precise. – But, this thought keeps growing in my noggin. What do you think? Would this be a great second job, or would I be spinning my wheels with a wrong mindset? – Either way, they keep coming, and I’m really starting to think more about trying my hand soon.