7 comments on “What got you hooked on racing – and why?

  1. A college buddy’s father trained horses at Suffolk Downs. My knowledge of racing was through the sports pages I scoured daily. Nobody in my family ever had any experiences at a racetrack. I would be the first. My buddy asked me if I wanted to go to the MassCap. It was a weekday (I checked this out online and it actually took place on Wednesday.) My friend bought a Form and I perused it and chose a horse named Fast Count. Fast Count was coming out of NY races and I knew enough to know that was better than Suffolk. Fast Count won and paid a little over $30. I thought that this was so easy. Next day in the local papers the headline read: Lame Shipper Wins MassCap. Ignorance was bliss. I was hooked after that by the challenge of the puzzle of handicapping.

  2. Tom my mothers uncles were horse players and during this era living in Hoboken,NJ there was a bookie on every corner.
    In high school I went to Aqueduct with a few buddies ( taking the A train) and really started to love the game during the Cauthen run.
    Went to two of the triple crown wins of Affirmed also saw him win the Hopeful.
    My grandparents had a house in Cairo NY and I was exposed to Saratoga. I remember watching Native Dancer on a very fuzzy back and white TV .
    When the Meadowlands opened – live 5 Miles away- I walked hots for Mike Sedlacek, Steve Kesaris, Paul Kopaj and Glen Hild. Sedlacek won the meadowland training title
    and was exposed to the Raggison and Jerry Brown sheets.
    In conclusion racing is romantic, mysterious, great mental exercises and run in Besutiful out door settings.
    I am move of a racing fan than a gambled—I am a NYRA REWARDS member–Joe

  3. 1973-Secretariat. I was 8yo and have been going to the track since then, I saw my first TC race in 1974 ( Little Current).I was born & raised in Western Mass, so I went to a lot of the fair circuit racing…Tri-County, Barrington, Marshfield & Brockton. In 1975 I tried to get into Hialeah & Gulfstream park, but I was 10 and you had to be 18+ to go. I’ve seen a lot of the greats in racing, notably Ruffian in her Mother Goose score by 13 lengths. Saw Seattle Slew & Affirmed win their TC races and I went to the 1986 KY Derby ( I bet on Snow Chief). Have been to Santa Anita, Saratoga, AQE, Pimlico in 1998 for Real Quiet’s Preakness. I loved going to Saratoga for the breakfast there and watching the workouts. Great fun : )

  4. PS.. when I went to the 1987 Belmont, mom & I were in the paddock watching Alysheba, Bet Twice and Cryptoclearance go by. I call d out “Hey Crypto” and he stopped for a nano second and looked right at me before his groom led him around again. I’ll never forget that day : )

  5. I got interested in racing through lelevison, a pretty common way for most kids in the 60s and 70s. My dad was watching ‘The Race of the Week; which I think was on CBS on Saturday afternoons, and they’d show the feature race from either New York or Florida. I liked horses, and I was attracted by the color. I also seem to remember that I could somehow tell when a horse didn’t look right, if it looked unbalanced, or its neck was too long or something. The first Kentucky Derby I remember watching on TV was in 1970 when I was 8. No one in my family was involved in racing. The first time I ever went to the races was for the 1976 Masscap at Suffolk Downs, my home track. I got married there in 1997, but my best day there was when Running Stag won the Masscap in 2000. I’d moved to England by then – my husband is English – and met Running Stag’s trainer there and told him the Masscap would be a good fit for his horse. He brought Stag over in 1999 and finished second, then made it his goal to come back the next year, and he won.

  6. I had always been a horse fanatic. Read all the books in every library in my school(s) as many times as I could. Got Western Horsemen delivered to my house monthly at age 10. First race I remember televised was also a grainy black and white in 1972 with Arts and Letters running 2nd….Don’t really remember the next year of Secretariat! . Won a Shetland Pony in a contest much to my parent’s chagrin. Remained in contact with horse-showing friends in high school and much to my surprise in March of 1976 got a call from a gal friend who was breaking Tb babies at a farm in WA asking if I still was interested in horses…um….yeah!….and went to work grooming horses at Portland Meadows. Seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven (although looking back I was lucky to not kill any of them in my ignorance of racehorses and was CLEARLY taking care of too many) but had great neighbors in the barn area who felt sorry for me–the first horse I led over won, so I was hooked.

    Learned to gallop, pony, eventually became an assistant trainer along with vet assistant, assistant track photographer, assistant identifer along the backside path. First marriage was to jockey who retired to train. It was absolutely in my blood. Signed, sealed and delivered. Never really looked back. Off track jobs included veterinary clinic tech support, and now currently a state racing commission employee. Could not be happier.

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