Thanks to everyone who wrote with good wishes and comments about my little radio gig yesterday. It was fun and less nerve-wracking than anticipated, likely due to the presence of John “Poppa Fink” Loscalzo, the epitome of a classic racing fan.
Poppa Fink was brought by his father to the old Jamaica track when he was a kid; at the time, children weren’t permitted at the races, so after a morning at the workouts, Grandpoppa Fink left his son at a bar across the street from the track while he went back to the track for the afternoon.
I think that Poppa Fink’s been going to the track for more decades than I’ve been alive, and unlike many of his generation, he is encouraged by what he’s seeing out at our New York tracks:
I’ve seen a change coming over, while we were at Aqueduct this last meet, and this whole new group came in, if you recall, when they were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, this gang that took over, they’re the best, they are the greatest. They are doing a heck of a lot for the players, number one; the place looks a heck of a lot better since they took over, and you got a young guy there, they used to call him Little Andy…he’s the best. What a personality! I remember when he was playing down there. What a friendly kid, he still is to this day. You walk over to him, he’ll spend fifteen, twenty minutes with you shooting the breeze…
It’s stuff like that that makes a difference. You don’t want to go there and see sour pusses and it’s all business. I go there and it’s nice to win, but it’s a day out. When my wife was around, we’d go on a Sunday and she’d have a ball. She loved it, the color, the horses, running around in the paddock. We had a lot of fun. Hopefully the kids will catch on to it. It’s not a one or two times a year type of thing, on the television, it’s something they can make a weekend once a month or something and have a great, great time…
If the folks in the NYRA marketing department have any openings, they may have found their guy in Poppa Fink. Who needs Augie when you have this guy?
You can hear the program by clicking any of the links here. Homer had us on for nearly forty-five minutes (talking racing for forty-five minutes—not too many chances for that these days), so be forewarned. Many thanks to Homer for the opportunity.
In a cruel twist of timing, this pre-Belmont week coincides exactly with my busiest time at school. This evening, I am off to my eleventh senior prom (I kid you not) and on Monday, I’m out of town for four days on a community service trip with the senior class. Posting may be irregular, but I’m planning to check in as often as I can, and later in the week, Brian will be here with a Belmont preview and a look of the $1 million Pick Six.