Ochenta (80)

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 9, 2023 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Ochenta (80)

I remember holding your hand and walking in the track. We were buddies separated by 23 years and I loved every minute even though I didn’t know what was really going on. Just being with you was reward enough, and nothing in my life has been that good since.

You were great at math and you knew I just couldn’t get adding and subtracting; as that gene must have skipped a generation. I tried to put the numbers together, but it just didn’t click. – You thought about what may perk my interest. You opened the Monopoly box and pulled out a pair of dice. The numbers started making sense, and to this day when I see a four it is a pair of twos on dice. Thanks, Dad.

My brother Donnie and I loved spending time with you. – He was your athlete, and like you was a natural. I was the horseplayer in training, and I’m still in love with the ponies to this day. Not only has it been a hobby, but it became my work over these many years. Thank you, Dad. We are both grateful for what you’ve shown us. But I must admit I think I had a better time!

I can rattle off a million stories of riding in our red convertible driving out to catch the last three or four races at Latonia Race Course. In the summer it was the Harness races that kept our inner gambler fueled, and, in the fall and winter it was the Thoroughbred meet. Both were captivating and gave me a lifetime of stories about bad beats and nice wins that followed up with a pizza from Burke’s bar.

The track was a magical place. – “Had a big winner, let’s go to the races. Tough day at work, let’s catch the last three later.” It was a common bond between two guys who loved the action and enjoyed the fun. – As Latonia turned into Turfway Park, I was lucky enough to work my way in from the parking lot to the inside. For me, there couldn’t have been a better place to spend my time calling it work when it was a labor of love. I won’t be a millionaire, but the incredible years working my way through the inner sanctum was a dream come true.

You showed me how to read the Form and over time your magic mojo that made you a handicapper. – Speed, speed, and more speed. Sprinters going the distance, and betting riders who had short winning percentages yielded big winners. I would stand in the summer sun at River Downs feeling the sweat roll down my back as men would stand in long lines to get a bet down. There was no place I’d rather be in the world than spending time at the races with you.

From working in the parking lot to calling $100,000 races, you taught me that it was important when someone took the time to speak. It was important that I listened. – Give people a fair shake and treat people with respect. Things I employ on a daily basis to this day. Thanks, Dad.

As you’ve beaten the Las Vegas odds of turning eighty years old, I leave you with an old story we both know well. – You scraped up your last five bucks and played a speed horse in the outside post at Latonia. He had pure speed and we just hoped the gal could hold on for dear life. – When the gate broke and we saw a horse jump high and unseat the rider. Both rider and horse were unscathed, but the two guys took a long walk to the car talking about the bad beat that still resonates to this day. Funny thing, many moons later I work with that young jockey and she laughs every time I tell her of our bad beat on a Saturday afternoon.

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad. Thank you for showing me about the races. For the many days and millions of stories, I am eternally grateful. If we had it to do all over again, we’d probably do it twice as much. Have a great day at the races today and I sure hope you pick some winners. – See you in the winner’s circle, as the races go on forever…