The Saint

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 22, 2021 in Blogroll, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on The Saint

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He was the usual kid who lived down the street. Played ball, did pretty well in school and liked to gamble. Playing penny poker, pitching quarters and anything where you could win the other kid’s coin. But, as gambling goes along so does the graduation of betting more to chase the rush.

Youth is king. – There is only one time in your life where the eternal summer exists. Spending his time going to the track, drinking beer over midnight card games. He wasn’t going to be a degenerate gambler, this young man was going to be a saint.

Seminary was his calling. Devout in faith and the priesthood was his direction. He enjoyed school and got along with the others taking the path. Until one day when the clouds parted and the fates would drastically change his course.

The young man was summoned to see the Bishop. A little surprising to say the least as it was at 6:00 pm. – “Come in my son, let’s speak. I see you’ve been slacking on some of your weekend duties. What would be so important to miss out on daily chores? – Bishop, I will not lie. I was at the racetrack. – As the lecture went on and on, the young lad found himself looking at his watch. –  Son, what is so important to drift away from our conversation? – Bishop, first post is 7:00 pm, and I have a friend picking me up in five minutes.” – After being dismissed hastily, our friend left to catch his ride and eventually lost his calling.

Bookmaking is a lost art. Some get it, and others do not. – But, this young man found another calling more suited to his interests. – Taking wagers on the phone and in person at his bar spending time at the track was his life. Win a $1,000 tonight and lose $2,000 the next. Betting was the lifeblood that coursed through his veins. – That was until he and a host of others were pinched for bookmaking. The court was ready to gather information and met out punishments for everyone involved. – That was until the young man took the stand and didn’t name one person. He stayed as quiet as a statue and took it like a man. – He did some time in a faraway place for awhile and returned to his life pursuits. Much smaller of course, but still keeping the beat for action being taken.

I met him years ago. He would do my taxes and he would take my small football wagers. – The thing that drew me to him was being told he didn’t tell on anyone and took the fall. – That in my book was worth a thousand pardons.

One evening I was watching a mob-style movie and a character who lost his calling and was part of the group was named “Jimmy the Saint.” – Many coincidences, and you could see the similarities. – One day at the races I had to drop off an envelope. On the outside were the words; “The Saint.” – He’s loved it and for the past couple decades and known to many by this moniker.

Many people walk in and out of our lives and we really get to know them. I was glad I shook hands that day and we’ve grown to be good friends over the years. He can still be found at the local OTB and making road trips with younger acquaintances as his group has slowed down and disappeared. – When I call him on the phone there is only one name he enjoys. It takes him back to his days at the seminary and his adventurous life. – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to “The Saint.” – May you have many great finishes and plenty of fantastic starts.