When Good Horseplayers Go Bad (Part 1)

By Ray Wallin

Whether you are a causal horseplayer or you make your living playing the races, it is only natural to root for your horse. When he wins it is OK to celebrate a bit, with moderation of course. Likewise, if you lose a tidy sum of money on the race it is only natural to be upset.

Some horseplayers take their day at the track to the extreme.

In my many nights spent on the second floor of the old Meadowlands grandstand there was one animated horseplayer that stood out from the rest. Lamont was quite a character. He had a voice that could be heard from the opposite end of the grandstand, which was unusual given his smaller build. Always in a baseball cap with a pencil behind his ear and the cap perched a bit back on his head, he would take his position in front of the simulcast monitors at post time.

Lamont’s actions were like clockwork. The race would start off and he’d be glancing through the glasses at the tip of his nose for one last look at the program. Once the race started that program got rolled up as he would start to pace. By the second call, he’d fold his arms and was stationary once again. It wasn’t until the horses turned for home that the show started.

No matter where his horse was in the field, it was time for him to spring into action. Slapping the program against his thigh yelling either “Get up with the three, get up with the three” or “Pull away with the three, pull away with the three,” depending on where his selection sat in the field. The closer to the finish, the higher the intensity level from Lamont.

When he won, his arms would go up like a fighter who got through the last round victorious. He’d let out a deafening “Woo!” and say “That’s how it’s done, that’s how it’s done.”

When he wasn’t so lucky it was best to stay out of his way. The garbage can saw most of his frustration. That can was kicked several times most nights, occasionally even getting knocked over. He’d walk back to his table slapping anything he could with that rolled up program — bench seats, bar height tables, chairs, the rail above the stadium style seats. He also had some parting words. Some common lines were “piece of #$%& horse,” “dumb a$$ jockey/driver,” or my favorite “these races are all fixed.”

Too bad we didn’t have the technology in our phones in 2002 that we do now otherwise I’d have some great videos to share. However, I have scoured the internet to find some other amusing horseplayers in action. So, sit back, relax, and have a laugh!

(Note that like many horseplayers, some of these videos contain vulgar language!)

Crazy George

Seems that this guy is a legend in New York. While I have never seen him myself, but I bet I could pick him out of the crowd anywhere easier than finding Waldo. Remember that saying what you want to happen repeatedly and quickly usually works. It seemed to work for him, right?

Grumpy Old Man

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were great in this 1993 movie and the 1995 sequel. Yet, if they wanted to do a remake, I think we have found the right guy to “let him loose.”

He’s Got Moves Like … ????

I’m not sure what this guy at Belmont is doing. Is it the Humpty Dance? Does he think he is MC Hammer at the beginning when it looks like he is dancing like Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean? Regardless of who you think he dances like, be prepared to see some moves that you have never seen before and will never see again!

Open ‘Em Up

Honestly, I think this guy has a good beat going. He even gets into it with the program slapping. Unlike Crazy George, saying something repeatedly and quickly isn’t working despite his constant pleas to “open ‘em up.”

Louie Louie

This isn’t the 1963 hit song performed by The Kingsmen. Note this gentleman’s enthusiasm and how he is shredding that program from slapping it so hard before throwing it aside to guide home his winner!

For those of us who remain more composed at the race track, it is always fun to come for the live racing and stay for the show. What great entertaining horseplayer moments have you witnessed at the track?

 

 

Ray Wallin
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.

Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.

Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.

Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at ray.wallin@live.com.