Betting on horses, dogs and most anything that moves has been around for time in memorial, as have the colorful characters making the bets. They're known around the world as RAILBIRDS because they like to station themselves up close to the action...on the rail at a horse or dog track or in the front row of a prize fight. No two are alike...except for the unique dream of winning the big one. They come in all sizes, shapes and types. They also tend to be either wildly flamboyant or blend incognito into the crowd. These are stories about of some of the intriguing racetrack RAILBIRDS in the past century. Their names have been changed, however they are real, true life portraits. You'll meet them in their moments of glory, moments of shame, moments of panic and depression, and their moments of laugh out loud zaniness; often with hysterical results. Consider the case of Park Avenue Willy who elbowed with the swells in the high-falutin' Clubhouses and Dining Rooms of America's thoroughbred palaces, placing his bets and offering his expertise to anyone who would listen. However...Willy's real deal was collecting mistakingly trashed bets slips from the oft distracted wealthy, and cashing them for himself before some confused dandy could realize it. He was a "stooper." Meet Meadowlark, the wanna be pro golfer who became a bet teller, who figured out the newest high technology integrated into a long somnambulent sport. He was so ahead of the curve he made off with track money before management realized it was gone. Then there was the Sheik, the diminutive Middle Eastern royal who liked to entertain his triple digit entourage for grand dinner parties at the track, complete with armed guards, taste testers and cases of top shelf liquor, but never bet on a race. You'll also meet El Senor, the aging but very wealthy Cuban refuge who attended Hialeah Park daily, placed large complicated wagers, and was so blind he couldn't read the numbers on the tickets. Consequently he became the easy mark for track smarties. Couple these with other situations; like the night the entire Miss Universe pagent dropped into the track unexpectedly causing complete confusion and changing the night's routine. Learn how the Pro Wrestlers scheduled their complex actions including sleeper holds, full nelsons and suplexes to dramatic finishes within seconds of the start of the next race. Racetracks, frontons, airports, stadiums, areans, concert halls and speedways have long been great peole watching venues. By the time you've met all the RAILBIRDS, you too will realize, that in fact, we are all RAILBIRDS in one way or another, watching, scheming, plotting and planning to win our big one........
About Baird Thompson
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Published January 6, 2013
Sports & Outdoors, Humor & Entertainment.