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The King is Dead

April 29, 2010

Lord knows, I’m not one to criticize someone else’s misdirected outrage. But Fat Al, I think your problem is not with the Times or the author of the offending article, but with the sad decline of Horse Racing in our society. Sure it lives, and sometimes thrives, but it has been moved off center stage in the circus of American sports. It, and boxing, still have it’s devoted followers, but they have been shunted off to the wings. And have you been to an OTB?

I know the answer to that is yes, but I doubt it has been recently and I know it is not your preferred venue for watching and betting. OTB is a relic from a different era. Perhaps it should be otherwise, but it is not. Maybe I should also be able to get a good steak and a whiskey for a fin before joining A.J. Liebling at the Garden for the fights. But I can not.

The world of horse racing and wagering has become a strange impenetrable, and somewhat frightening (at least if you wander into and OTB), world, one in which you are likely to get very lost unless you enter with a guide. Certainly the Times’ condescending anthropological journeys into the worlds of anyone who can’t summer on the shore, Long Island or otherwise, are grating, but it is not their role to revive racing.

All that being so, being a bookmaker is still profitable and it was a failure to explain why OTB, despite taking in a billion dollars, is shutting down. OTB is closing not because it is laughably incompetent or corrupt, it is closing because the state legislature is. They have extracted ever increasing sums of money, to the point that a legalized bookmaker in NYC has become unprofitable. Now that takes effort! When did New York become Louisiana?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Fat Al permalink*
    May 3, 2010 9:03 am

    Maybe it’s frightening if you’re a pussy.

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