Sunday, April 23, 2006

Searching for the Chain-smoking Easter Bunny

Yesterday, 12-year-old Proven Cure soundly thumped a field of younger horses in the $40,000 Littlebitlively Stakes at Lone Star Park. Proven Cure apparently loves to race and loves to win, and continues to do so. Yesterday was his 21st win in 85 races. Quite an accomplishment for a 12-year-old. When I was 12, I wore braces and glasses and I was trying to learn Fur Elise on the piano. Oh, but I guess it should be noted that I'm not a racehorse. Poor comparison.

Anyway, plenty has been written about the amazing Proven Cure for the past few days, so I see no reason to rehash the wonders of this horse. I'll just pocket my winnings and let you read all the attached links. Instead I shall focus my attention to something with utmost importance: Easter Egg Hunts.

Today there was a letter to the Dallas Morning News from Tanya Cruz of Dallas. Ms. Cruz declared that the Lone Star Park Easter Egg Hunt last weekend was an "utter disaster." Personally, I am ambivalent about Easter Egg Hunts at public venues, such as a racetrack or the White House. My husband and I generally hide roughly 263 eggs in the backyard for our kids. They generally find roughly 244 eggs and the lawnmower generally finds the other 19 eggs over the following week.

As a parent, I certainly had empathy for the mother. However, she concluded her letter with
Had I known I would have had to deal with this terror and chain-smoking old gamblers, I would have stuck to [the Dallas Arboretum].

I found Ms. Cruz's statement very disconcerting. To think that the racetrack is being overrun and terrorized by old, chain-smoking gambling individuals, on Easter Sunday to boot!

Thus, it became a personal mission for me to see if, indeed, Lone Star Park was being run over by old, chain-smoking gamblers. So I made an investigative "visit" to Lone Star Park.

Once again, it was a beautiful day, much like last Sunday. Families with youngsters were spread out on blankets in the grassy areas, soaking up the sunshine. I noted that these families did not appear to be old. Nor was there any smoking, chain or otherwise, going on. Apparently, I was not in the correct location of the track as described by Ms. Cruz.

I wandered over to the grandstand. The lines seemed thick as usual. "Aaaah," I thought. "These must be the gamblers that Ms. Cruz indicated in her letter." Upon further inspection, they did not appear all that old nor infirmed, and I counted two people smoking. As to whether these two individuals were actual chain-smokers, there was simply not enough evidence to support that conclusion.

After I made a small wager, I opted to go to the Post Time Pavilion, as yes, there is a collection of older, chain-smoking, serious horseplayers (seats 18 and higher). But surely, Ms. Cruz would not even think of bringing her young child into this facility to search for Easter Eggs? It is a very serious wagering parlor. I, myself, only have the gall to bring one of my daughters inside for no more than 30 seconds, if at all possible. I looked around for my usual group of cronies, who by the way, are neither old nor smokers. I asked Kemper, "Was there a larger than normal group of chain-smoking old gamblers here last weekend?"

"No, but I did hit a superfecta for $28,000!"

I gave my obligatory congratulations and continued on my mission. I went back to the mutuels for final assessment. After I cashed in a winning wager, I noted that there were at least 8 gentlemen in the lines that could have passed themselves off as old gamblers but alas, I was unable to deduce that they were smokers.

Okay. So maybe the Lone Star Park Easter Egg Hunt was chaotic. But just because it was held at a racetrack - a gambling establishment - to state that horseplayers are nothing more than chain-smoking old gamblers is quite frankly, an irritating stereotype. A negative caricature. An exaggeration. A distortion.

I would continue with my rant, however my hen-pecked husband just informed me that he discovered 3 more eggs with his lawnmower.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed your blog. If you want to talk racing, feel free to e-mail me at

Thanks for the service you provide to racing fans,

Dan Illman

t said...

Inspired by this post, me and my camera went looking for the chain smoking easter bunny myself at the track. Maybe it's healthy California, or that it was family day, but I had a hard time getting pictures of smokers. There were a few, but not nearly as many as I had thought. I was disappointed. Smokers, particularly old smokers, make for good pictures, I find.

Still haven't figured out what I'm doing for silks. I've got some time, though...she wont start until July at the earliest.

I too thank you for your service.