Entrance Ramp

The Real Life Ventures and Adventures of Trey and Batman

by Trey Nosrac

Episode 1

Driving down the I-71 entrance ramp that would take us to the Cleveland International Airport, my passenger received a text message. He glanced at the screen on his phone and told me his flight to Sacramento would be delayed an hour due to maintenance. This small event demonstrated what separates my Silicon Valley friend from normal people. Where many would bitch and moan at the airline, he saw an opportunity.

He snapped his fingers and said, “This will give us a chance to have our first conference as partners in the harness horse racing business. Let’s convene in the airport coffee shop.”

Five minutes later, he tossed his backpack on the floor under the small plastic table at the mini-McDonald’s at the airport, ran his fingers over his graying head of fuzzy hair, and opened with, “Let’s review the minutes of our last meeting.”

I replied, “Eleven minutes ago you hired me and gave me TWO fancy sounding titles.”

He smiled, “You’re going to remain my regular driver and assist me in entering the harness racing business on several fronts.”

“Explain again why you are dabbling in racing.”
“Curiosity, and because I’m one of those people who believe they can reinvent the wheel.”

I poked an accusing finger at him and said, “Yeah, you need to live up to your new nickname as Batman, billionaire always thinking.”

He tapped a thinking finger above his eyebrow and said, “Well, let’s see. Your acronym is Harness / Horse / Mentor / Advisor / Ground / Transportation / Coordinator?”
I winced, “HHMAGTC. They wouldn’t use those letters on the bottom line of an eye chart. Just call me Trey.”

“Is Trey a nickname?”

I sighed and whispered, “Keep this to yourself, my birth certificate name was Elmer… Elmer Vladislov Nosrac.”

He smothered a snort of laughter.

“It cost me like $200 to have it legally changed the day I turned 18. Trey came from playground basketball. You know, three-point shooter. I can hoop, trash talk like a savant and will fire from the parking lot. My other playground nicknames were No Conscience and Black Socks and Chews. But, “Trey” worked better on my stationery.”

He chuckled, “Good to know. Hey, while we are setting up our business, I have a small request.”

“Sorry pal, my plate is full.”

After a pause, “Just kidding, I always set my employment bar low.”

He dropped another weird bomb, “I want you to be on the lookout for a borderline stallion, a racehorse that will retire and NOT go to stud.”

“What the hell is that all about? Now you want me to sniff around for a stallion that isn’t going to be a stallion?”

“A sideline possibility. If you find a horse in this category, I might try something unorthodox.”

I held out my hands as if leaning on an invisible wall and spoke slowly, “Let’s focus. Your first order…”


“Okay. Your first request is to buy a yearling this fall. You need to answer a few questions for me.”

He leaned back in his chair, “Shoot.”

“Did you ever own a racehorse before this flight of madness?”

“Nope, but I know more than the average person about harness racing because my grandfather raced when I was just a kid and I spent time with him around the barns. Plus, since we have been riding around together, I have been digging on the Internet.”

“Yeah, you dig like a mole in heat. So what is our budget, 10, 20, 30, or $100,000? Remember this is just to BUY the yearling.”

He was quick and decisive with his answer, “Twenty.”

My first thought was to ask why he chose this number, but I was on a roll so I asked something else, “Is it important that you be close to home to see the horse train and race?”

“Absolutely. I want to be involved and I want to watch the horse race. However, the broodmares can be in any state program.”

“Colt or filly?”

“No preference.”

“Trotter or pacer?”

“Trotter. My grandfather was a trotting man.”

I bobble-headed my head up and down, “This is good Batman, very good; these are the same sorts of horses I normally shop for — not too pricey, local products, and trotters. I’ve been down this road several times.”

“Any success?”

“Mixed. A few cups of coffee in the minors, no calls up to the big leagues, but no regrets.”

“Any more questions?”

“Yeah, about a thousand, but that’s enough to start. I can screw things up from here.”

“You won’t screw up.”

“Batman, it’s refreshing to be showered with such delusions of adequacy.”

He asked, “What now, what’s your next step?”

“Well, normally at this time of the summer I start hustling money, borrowing, scheming, conniving, begging, even working to finance my harness racing habit. Hooking up with you will allow me to skip that part and let me start poking around early. There are several sales coming up this fall that will have horses that might fit our needs. Right now they are putting the fall auctions together. The buying process is exciting. I wish the catalogs were ready so we could start today.”

He gave a little fist pump across the table, “Exciting is good. What exactly do you do with the catalog?”

“Filter through thousands of horses to come up with one. During my first years as a yearling shopper, I used to rip out the pages of every yearling that was not a possibility. My living room floor would be ankle deep in the paper. These days I can use my I-pad to filter, which should please a geek like you. To be honest, I sort of miss the catalogs and the process, but e-stuff saves time and trees.”

He nodded, “Filtering using various criteria — you know that’s what we do in the digital commerce world. We either cut a massive forest to a few trees or take a few trees and create a forest of interest.”

“You just cut our forest. We have a more manageable number of prospects. The next step worries me.”

“How so?” he asked.

I took a few seconds to frame my thoughts and then said, “In real life, I improvise. I can be a tad impulsive and have the documented wreckage to prove it. In the horse game, I am tenacious. My filters are unorthodox, but they make sense to me. When you hear my thinking, you may get cold feet.”
“Never worry about my feet. Let’s get busy looking for that horse.”