Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard Blues

The blizzard that blew up the East Coast in the last 24 hours, wreaked havoc on at least one horseplayer, and probably a whole lot more. Did it impact the handle for Santa Anita’s Opening Day… doubt it, but who knows?

A good friend, who shall remain nameless, still likes to visit the local gambling venues almost every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, with the exception of the weeks that he spends at Gulfstream, Keeneland and Saratoga. There are 3 within a 40 mile radius of where he lives. He’s an old fashioned guy who still likes to have the Form in his hands.He has worked on the track, been an owner, breeder and has been betting for 35 + years. He likes to hang with his buddies, and mostly bets New York, or whatever high profile track that’s running. My guess is that he will go for a few hundred on any one day. Not a high roller, but probably around the median level for a lot of people.

With the storm hitting New England late Sunday morning, he decided to lay low and use his ADW account and watch from the couch. Not the way he likes to bet races, but it seemed to be his only option. But he still needed a Form. He ventured out as the storm escalated, to the local newspaper store never giving it a thought that they may be sold out. And they were. No Forms, not a one, not even those silly programs.

So at about 12:30, I get a frantic phone call. He was in a panic! He needed PP’s!!!! I laughed …it was ( I suppose) like a druggie looking for crack. Where do I get them? Could I print them out for him?( Well, I could if my printer was working) …. So I made a few suggestions, one, that he could get them through his account ( duh)… And then in the time it took The Factor to run 6 furlongs, my friend was able to enjoy opening day at Santa Anita. That is, while keeping up with shoveling, of course. What about all his other friends? What did they do?

My guess is that lots of horseplayers, up and down the east coast, who would  normally have been out at their favorite venue, were stuck in the house yesterday, and shut out. But maybe Mother Nature’s intervention is just what was needed to get some of the 50 and over crowd, the typical and  traditional racing fans, (who BTW, I think is STILL  the age that makes up the majority of racing fans ), to get more tech savvy so they can still get their dose of racing even when the weather throws them a curve.

If you are reading blogs, then you are somewhat Internet savvy. But there are still so many people who do not have the time, or don’t want to take the time to taste all that is offered to the racing fan by way of the Internet. And they are missing out on so much.

Believe it or not, I actually know people who still do not use a phone or Internet betting account and that is mind boggling! Nor do they take advantage of all the up-to the-minute information that is free on the net. For those who live too far from live racing, it’s the only way to survive. For those who prefer not to venture out to a “gambling parlor” every weekend, then watching one of the racing networks with phone or computer in hand, is a good alternative. It’s not ideal I know, but I for one, prefer it. Especially for the days when a blizzard blows through, “snowed in” doesn’t have to mean “shut out”.


  1. You made an interesting point about people who still prefer to bet the old fashioned way (at the track or an OTB).

    I was the same way for a long time, but after playing the races from home the past several years, I much, much prefer betting on the computer. I have access to tons of information, can take my time structuring bets, monitor the tote board, and watch the post parade without having to stand in line and deal with the inconveniences of the track (traffic, buying programs, entrance fees, malcontents, etc). I still enjoy going to the races from time to time and always go to the track on big race days like the TC races or Breeders' Cup. But I have to say, betting the races from home in my pajamas is the only way to go.

  2. Steve,
    Thanks for stopping by. Lots of us have been spoiled. I hate to admit it, but even when I'm at the track, I'm missing being able to get ALL that I have in front of me at home. My Droid can only do so much.
    But, I agree, hard to top being "on track" for the big days.
    Now for the "malcontents", some of those characters are priceless. ( minus the obscenities of course)