Written by Madison Jackson
all have that one
who holds a special place in our heart. We all have that one race
that he could have won had he just been given another shot. We all
have our highs, our lows, our greatest moments; we have it all. We
are horse racing fans, and we will never stop declaring our love for
anybody thinks of any sport, celebrity, or game, it is safe to say
that the fans make up what the object is. With celebrities, you have
crazed fans that can sometimes be a bit too crazy, but also you have
those who are content to sit back and enjoy the show from a distance.
Likewise, you have the same with racing. Although fans may not be the
first thing that comes to mind when somebody hears 'racing', they
should be. Whether the fans are longtime owners and trainers, new to
the sport, or old veteran fans of racing that could tell you about
Secretariat from personal experience, they all help make racing what
it is today.
the midst of my Hoosier Park adventures, I met many people who
enjoyed the sport enough to join into it. Jane Morgan (name changed) was one of them. She was the person who opened
and closed the paddock gate for owners and trainers coming from the
rail where the fans stood. I talked to her between the ends of races,
because it was then that she looked the loneliest. When we were
talking, she told me that she was not looking desperately for a job,
but instead got into the job because of the horses. I loved that,
because in this world, society is not so much founded on passion, but
lust for money and the power it brings. But Jane, she did not fall
into the big category of those people who strive to be well known and
wealthy. Instead, she tried and succeeded in being a part of what made
her happy: racing.
also met two owners of a successful Indiana racehorse who was racing
in a stakes race later on in the year. I was on the paddock rail, and
two men were eagerly talking, smiling at the program, and checking up
to look at one specific horse. I followed their gaze, looked down at
my own program, and wondered, "Are they superfans or owners?"
"Come on, Moe," they kept muttering to themselves and the
horse as he was led by. Finally, I nerved up enough to ask about him.
"That's a beautiful horse, number 6." Which is the horse
they were glancing at. "Is he your pick?"
heads swiveled towards me, anxious to see who asked them the
question. The man closest to me, the one wearing a gray baseball
cap, smiled. His voice was raspy, and I suppose he wasn't much
younger than 45.
"Yea, that's our horse; number 6, the gray
one," he said, and his friend beside him smiled some more. The
gray horse was lead by, and the judge called riders up. "How did
you get him?" I asked.
is our first horse," the same one said. "And luckily, he's
been one of the best 2 year old's in the state!" And with that,
they walked away, presumably towards the rail. I ran over to my
mother, and told her to bet number 6.
"12-1 odds?" She
asked, but I told her yes. I was sure of it. The race was ran, and
number 6 won by a nose. I looked to the winners circle, and the two
men looked like they had just won a million bucks. I smiled. It
didn't pay too bad either.
friend and neighbor Larry Penner (actual name) is one example of a
person who had the opportunity to join the sport before he was a fan.
He had a speedboat and a friend. He and his friend were sitting at a
diner, eating, when the discussion of a racehorse comes up.
bored," Larry said. His friend smiled.
you ever thought about owning a horse?"
Larry didn't know what
to think, because horse racing was a sport with only one big race,
the Kentucky Derby, and with one good horse, Secretariat. Larry shook
there is this good horse down at Indiana Downs if you're interested."
called this man, and they brought up a price. $6,000.
have that much, " Larry started to say, but then stopped. "Hey,
do you want a speedboat?"
In my eyes, Larry's love for racing
was thrust upon him, as if he was destined to become a small town
trainer with 12 horses and a small training track. Now, each year,
this fan watches the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont and never
gives up hope of making it to the big leagues.
time you are on the rail next to somebody, tell them your story. Tell
them how you came to love the sport that brought you and this random
stranger to stand right next to each other. Tell them your moment,
your one true love for your one true love horse. If you're lucky,
they just might tell you theirs.