What started out essentially as a dare has grown into a passion.
In 1997, when toiling away in the ultra-competitive Southern California racing scene, some friends and business partners got together one afternoon with an idea.
“A different approach to a horse racing radio show.”
That was what they called it.
“And we want you to host it.”
I’d spent all my adult life working in newspapers. I’d been brought up since my childhood wanting to be a sports writer, and even though I could voice my opinion from time to time, there seemed to be so monumental a difference between writing an opinion and speaking that opinion into a microphone, that I became almost fearful of the very thought of it.
We marched ahead however, and created “The Fast Track”.
There have been successes and missed opportunities along the way.
There have been friendships and partnerships both forged and lost along the way.
There have been different versions of the show, both on terrestrial radio and Internet radio.
The one constant of the show during the on-again, off-again history?
“Entertainment. The show makes you money and it makes you laugh. What else do you need?”
Those are the words of John Wells, a listener who first came upon the show in 2005 when he moved from Oklahoma City to the Four Corners region of New Mexico, where “The Fast Track” show now calls home.
I am proud to be associated with amazingly talented handicappers and writers like Jarrod Horak and Joe DePaolo, who both bring incredible handicapping skill and knowledge to the show.
They, along with the many who have passed through the imaginary doors of this show, have made “The Fast Track” always something special.
It was always a goal of the show to be something different.
When the creators of the show, Ben and Marc Platt, sat down to come up with the idea for a new horse racing show, the market in Los Angeles was cluttered.
There were some that were better than others, and there were some that rang out like noise pollution.
Our idea was something different. We wanted to stand out, and in the process, we were way ahead of the game.
No magazine-style stories about such and such horse and why he was the greatest horse since such and such according to such and such horsemen who has little or nothing to do with the horses that are running at your favorite track today.
And that was it -- the fundamental difference in our approach -- we wanted only opinions and handicapping. We wanted to push the envelope and challenge everyone to do things differently.
Instead of monologues, we gave you information.
Instead of telling you why everything was bad about racing, or turning the show into a gossip column, we turned the opinions around and told you what horses we thought were bad bets. In our minds, it was just as important to stay away from a losing bet as it was to make a winning one.
“The show really has something for everybody - whether it's opinions on the weekend's big races, or discussions about the science of handicapping at large, or pull-no-punches debates about some of the issues surrounding horse racing,” said DePaolo.
It was that different approach that helped create the show in 1997, and why today, the show is about to take another giant step.
This weekend, “The Fast Track” launches into a new era.
Talk about perfect timing. With the Triple Crown coming up, as well as top flight racing across the country between now and the end of June, we're hopefully going to entertain you, inform you, and yes, once in awhile, maybe get you irritated and upset.
It's OK. We want to be all of those things. We want the show to be something you want to hear. We want to push the buttons of those handicappers and horseplayers who like a challenge.
Believe me, we'll all push each other on the show. We wouldn't have it any other way.
“As a team, I think we have great chemistry,” said DePaolo. “I firmly believe that The Fast Track is the best radio show about horse racing in America - and I'm extremely proud to be a part of it.”
The next few weeks in the racing industry are among the most popular in any sport. This year especially, with what is shaping up to be the most wide-open Kentucky Derby in recent history, the 10am (Eastern) weekend timeslot is going to become a very important time for you to find out what the guys are going to say next.
“I've been listening to Steve, the Andy Rooney of Horse Racing Talk Radio, since the start of the show from Los Angeles,” recalled listener Bill Alberg of Las Vegas, Nevada. “His wit, humor and knowlege of this great sport will make great listening for many new listeners on Saturday and Sunday mornings.”
We hope you’ll agree.