Seems like just yesterday when arriving in Las Vegas thinking I died and went to heaven.
It was 1977 there was no pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, no live racing on big screen TV’s, no live calls. Heck, the biggest payoff on an exotic wager was 100-1! The Stardust or "The Dust" was the place to play and be seen. It was like the bar Cheers, everyone knew your name, were characters and had some kind of story. The supervisors all knew you and would be at the bar after the races partaking with the regular folk.
These good old days are long gone. The thorough back supervisors, old school regular guys are just virtually non-existent. There is still Billy O’Gorman at Palace Station (another story) and Hall of Fame supervisor Ron Cohen at Caesars Palace.
Ron is one of those guys who lives his job. He has been involved in horse racing all his adult life and most likely even before that. Cohen has been a mainstay in the Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book and now is retiring after 26 years in his favorite pastime and job.
Ron broke into the industry at the famous Santa Anita race book on the strip, one of my favorite spots and one that Damon Runyon dreamed about. It was the year the great Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown and Ron remembers it like it was just the other day. He learned the industry under the legendary Sammy Cohen.
Since then he has seen many changes in the Race Book industry, none more dramatic than the inception in 1990 of pari-mutuel wagering in Nevada. Ron is one of the last throw back supervisors, when customers come in regularly to hear one of his great stories (and he has many) about horse racing.
Cohen is looking forward to his first extended time off and is planning to be at Del Mar for opening day. We wish him the best as he will be sorely missed. I know after talking to Chuck Esposito that he will always be a welcome customer and friend. We look forward to seeing him at the Race Book picking winners. To a real winner and "The General" from all your co-workers at Caesars and you friends, good luck and may the ponies treat you well.
By the way, Del Mar opens Wednesday, July 21 and I am hoping to see Ron there. Maybe one of us old timers can get a winner.
Just a little tip for the upcoming Del Mar meet, keep an eye on trainer Ron McAnally’s horses. McAnally had a horrible time at Hollywood and should rebound in a big way by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.
If only I could have”¦
Baseball has been one tough customer for me so far this year, very choppy. It used to be a game of streaks but few teams have been able to put wins together and not many besides the Pirates have gone on long losing streaks. There is on big amazing streak going into Tuesday as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have won 11 straight! I could see this coming from several teams but the Rays?
Getting to golf, what about "pussycat Woods." Just another lackluster effort, but he looked so happy doing it. Most likely he just couldn’t wait to get home.