I love thoroughbred racing. With a passion. Always have. Always will. It’s one of the greatest – and perhaps most overlooked – traditions we have in America, and anyone who says otherwise is itchin’ for a fight.
I fell in love with the sport of kings the first time I went to beautiful Arlington Park on the north side of Chicago. The entire atmosphere consumed me. From the “rail birds” near the finish line, to the touts with their list of “sure things,” to the upper-crust folks sipping drinks in the VIP section, I was hooked for life.
Maybe that’s not the best term to use in reference to a sport that features legalized gambling and the accompanying addiction that can, and does, consume so many, but it’s true nonetheless. I’m not a big-time gambler by any means, but offer me a chance to spend all afternoon at the track, and I’m your huckleberry.
I’ll never forget that glorious day over 40 years ago when I heard the trumpets announce the call to the post – the fanfare that announces every race as the horses make their way to the gate.
The hairs on the back of my neck tingled with delight as the magnificent beasts came out of the paddock and pranced and danced in front of thousands of excited fans. With nostrils flared and sweat beginning to form on their necks, it was obvious the steeds knew exactly what was going on and what was about to happen. They were ready to get it on.
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