Just realized it but Wayne Whebby’s excellent FEELIN
FRISKIE is indeed the Artiscape colt originally named ARTER
DUER which sold at Harrisburg in 2004. Oh well at least
we didn’t name a stiff after the honorable squire
of Peninsula Farms.
TERMINOLOGIES AND TOODY
Back then we didn’t consider ourselves GAMBLERS. Rather
we were HORSEPLAYERS that dabbled on horse racing via the
pari mutuels and/or distinguished gentlemen known as turf
accountants who were readily available in most neighborhoods.
The services of the latter were mainly utilized when one
could not actually get to the racetrack.
Can still remember the sheer exhilaration of approaching
Roosevelt Raceway with its bright lights, traffic tie ups,
tip sheet hawkers, and never ending streams of humanity
pouring out from the fleets of buses- cascading through
the tollgates into a bustling area where every night resembled
a microcosm of Times Square on New Years eve.
Those people were horseplayers and it was a fraternity
you earned your way into. “Hey kid get the hot dogs”
the middle aged driver of the neighborhood shuttle car would
insist and gimme a 5-3 double two times on the way back.
For that he slammed a tenner in your hand. This meant four
bucks went on 5-3 before you even thought of punching your
own combo. You obtained the frankfurters from the remaining
$6 and made sure all the leftover change was returned intact.
You did not pocket it. It was not a tip. Since rookie inclusion
in the carload up was a privilege, being dispatched for
hot dogs was the appropriate and expected rite of passage.
The same faces inhabited the same areas night after night.
It was a way of life. Everybody had favorite horses. Certain
horses got bet religiously regardless of whether they figured
or not as segments of the crowd had virtually adopted them.
We would never miss a night when favorite horses were racing
almost as if we shared in the ownership. Over the years
we probably churned enough on “favorite” horses
to at least approximate a down payment.
Guys would heatedly debate the respective merits of the
metropolitan center fielders Mickey, Say Hey Willie and
The Duke as if they knew them personally. Immediately after
the free-for-all the dialogue switched to Overtrick, Cardigan
Bay, Tarquinius and Meadow Skipper, as they too were larger
than life. Before them it was Adios Butler, Bye Bye Byrd,
Widower Creed, Tar Boy, O’Brien Hanover and Speedy
Then there were those times we left the track with empty
pockets save for two dimes needed for the 20 cent toll on
The Meadowbrook where it veered into the loop. (Yes the
same toll plaza where Sonny C got whacked) However if a
favorite horse won, it was consolation. As a rule the group
winner was always good for the obligatory nightcap “coffee
and” and if no one won, we’d all pool our loose
change and make do..
After all there was always tomorrow night and if we won
big, GAM WAH awaited!
If we broke even there was always the Texas Ranger.
Was it just the mere impressionistic exuberance of youth
or were those times really as magical as they still seem
to this day?
And if it were just the illusionary exuberance of youth
than it is indeed lamentable that so many generations of
contemporary youth have never and will never get the opportunity
to ponder just that question.
Yeah Toody Barasch! Lets have artichokes for Jamin, a goat
for Kracovie and a visa and safe passage through a South
American shooting war for Thomas Atkins. Those were indeed
Racing commission in Delaware looking to emulate Ontario
by random spot testing. Someone said that could impact a
“right to privacy”. Duh… don’t the
fans have any rights to a fair shake?