Parting Words

“They parted at last with mutual civility, and possibly a mutual desire of never meeting again.” – Jane Austen

by Trey Nosrac

Trey, Next time you are going to be a disappointment to a woman, please do not take a year.”

“Always the same, five minutes of preparation for such a quick moment of dissatisfaction.”

“I question the bang for my bucks.”

Those sad, final words echo in my mind.

Pheromones, hormones, adrenaline and serotonin were in play, but surprisingly, these words were not about dating. These sentences refer to my recent experiences attempting to introduce female civilians into the worlds of harness racehorse ownership and harness horse racing gambling.

The introductory courses proved completely unappetizing. This is understandable since the pupils were born in the computer age, an age of short attention spans and instant gratification.

The conundrum is clear. Our beloved sport is slow, deep and aging. Male or female, my target audiences were fast, shallow and youthful. This made recruitment of new troops like trying to mate mollusks with meerkats.

Once again, between Lyft passengers I will analyze and potentially save the sport. The theme of the following report is simple, change.

“Next time you are going to be a disappointment to a woman, please do not take a year.” – Leanne

Problem – Leanne dove into ownership with me. We purchased a yearling trotter in October of 2014. To lovely Leanne, the trip to the sales auction was confusing, yet modestly interesting. The next 10 months were not. In fact, by the time the trotter failed to qualify in late July of 2015, this fine woman was married to an insurance adjustor named Rudy. Her share of the training bills kept coming. To her unschooled eyes and ears, her ownership experience was as much fun a sitting in a dark closet for a very long period of time and having a request for payment slipped under the doorjamb every month.

Solution – Purchase yearlings in May and June. It is possible, in fact, likely, that I could have held Leanne’s attentions for a month, a month where there was at least a chance that something would happen. The horse may have raced and brought pleasure, or it may not have raced and been a costly mistake. But at the very least, something tangible would have happened. The bandage ripped off quickly.

“Always the same, five minutes of preparation for such a quick moment of dissatisfaction.” – Marie

Problem – Marie agreed to accompany me to the local harness racetrack each Friday after we finished work. The ambiance of the facility was somnolent. The pace was sluggish. My explanations of the intricacies of handicapping grew tiresome. The travel time to the track was annoying. The time between races became intolerable. Marie soon began to wander through the glass doors into the welcoming arms of the attached casino and a pit boss named Reggie. Her future as a gambler on harness racing became history, as did our relationship.

Solution – Stay away from the physical racetrack. On further review, the odds of keeping Marie and having her become a gambler willing to contribute financially to the betterment of harness horse racing would have improved greatly if we had spent our Friday evenings in front of my massive television. We could have sat in adjoining recliners. She could have ordered take-out. We could have sipped wine as I scrolled through parades of racetracks and wagered online. If I controlled the giant screen, the pace of play would have increased and detailed explanations and replays would have been available. The captive audience would have given racing a chance, and Reggie would not have gotten his chance with Marie.

“I question the bang for my bucks.” – Sally

Problem – Sally had some staying power. She came to play. She plowed through the complexities of a harness racing program, wagered good money, and began to learn the craft of harness horse racing handicapping. Alas, the payoff, or lack thereof, began to erode her enthusiasm. Although she upped her game and slogged along, her disposable income earmarked for gambling disappeared without end. She moved to Vegas. From her condominium, primarily due to mathematics, she began wagering on – of all things — baseball games, a slower sport than racing with even more numbers and statistics.

Solution – Reduce the take-out.

Ah well, the light fades. Trey will soldier on, searching for new fans to embrace our grand old sport, a task not for the faint of heart.

“A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved going the opposite direction in this too-big world.” – Jack Kerouac (On the Road)