Memories & Memorabilia, Volume 1: Black-Eyed Susan Day, 2008

“At Least I Got Some Autographs”

Whenever I flash back to the Summer of 2008, I’m instantly riding that roller coaster again. It was an extremely emotional ride conducted by a  horse named Big Brown.

Sadly, my lasting memory was trying to find the horse, or any flash of the red #1 he wore on Belmont Day. My search for the colt ended when he stumbled across the finish line last and I stumbled off a crowded grandstand bench, which I’d balanced myself on for at least the prior 2:29.65.

Another Triple Crown dream shattered – the half-conscious teens and 20-somethings, who’d spilled their beers on me while hanging on the same bench, didn’t seem phased. For me, it wasn’t a pleasant memory.

Just three weeks earlier, the ride had hit an incredible high when Big Brown dominated the Preakness Stakes, his nearest competitor no closer than 5-lengths away. What I also remember from that weekend, aside from making up an excuse to miss work in South Carolina so that I could make it to Baltimore, was what happened the day before: Black-Eyed Susan Day.

For hardened gamblers, the story of how I hit an early Trifecta, only to leave the $850 voucher in a machine later in the day, would seem all too predictable. But it happened. And it sucked.

However, if you’re going to play this game and love this game, you have to find the silver lining on days as grey as Tapit. I still keep my silver lining from May 16, 2008, in a frame hanging on a wall in the guest room of my home. Inside the frame, is a poster that was handed out at the track that morning. Pimlico had arranged for a great collection of jockeys to sign the posters before race time.

I remember calling my dad at the end of the day and telling him about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the lost voucher. Before he could get too worked up, I remember interjecting with a semi-sarcastic, “hey, at least I got some autographs!” I then proceeded to list off the names of the riders you see below.

Take a look at the photos and see how many of the jockeys you can identify by their signatures.

That’s all for this initial posting of “Memories & Memorabilia.” I encourage you to share similar stories and photos on this site. I can’t wait to hear from you.  – Dan

Black-Eyed Susan Day, 2008Guess who?photo(12)



8 thoughts on “Memories & Memorabilia, Volume 1: Black-Eyed Susan Day, 2008”

    1. Chris,
      Thanks for posting! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I know I wasn’t happy at the time but I can certainly laugh about it now. 🙂

  1. i’ve not yet left a voucher in a machine. however, i have had a winning ticket fall out of my pants pocket before. :-/

  2. Some of my ‘stuff’ :

    1. Actual cover page of Thoroughbred Record July 12, 1975 featuring Ruffian after match race
    ending in her demise.

    2. Whitney Program 1973, Secretariat lost to Onion

    3. Several winning mutuels of Canadian International, featuring Secretariat (his last race),
    and Dahlia (ridden by Lester Piggott) – pictures included

    4. Winning Arc ticket, 1973, Rheingold, Piggott’s first Arc win

  3. i have another ticket folly that just happened this weekend, on the Big Cap. i looked at the list of horses, bet an exacta box of Will Take Charge, Game On Dude, and Mucho Macho Man (or so i thought), and took it back to my seat to watch the simulcast feed. the race ends with The Dude in first and Will Take Charge in second. even though i was cheering for Will Take Charge, i was glad to have landed the most profitable exacta combination for my ticket.

    i walk it to the window, the woman behind the desk scans it, and she informs me i had a losing ticket. confused, i take a look…and grumble. i had said 1, 2, and 6 — not 1, 2, and 7. that meant last place finisher American Blend was in my ticket, and Game On Dude was not.


    fortunately, i don’t bet much on any particular ticket, so this was funny instead of gut-wrenching. however, it’s a good argument for always checking your ticket against the list of horses before you leave the window.

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