Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Visiiting Emerald Downs' Robert Geller

We’ve had a pretty good summer. There was something to look forward to every week because we attended the local race track in Auburn, Washington every Friday and a couple of other days for special stakes races. We sat in the grandstands and became quite good friends with the woman usher who took care of our section. My wife, Anna, made knitted hats for her kids and last week Mary Kay presented us with Georgia Pickles, a family recipe from her home state. In real life she is a teacher’s assistant in a class of special ed kids. She jokingly says that Anna and I should come back and substitute teach because the pay is about $125 a day. Then we’d have more to bet. Actually we bet very conservatively. Over 25 racing days and 190+ races I’ve lost $70 and Anna about the same. We have only two more race days to attend. Can I make up my losses? Doubtful.

One of the highlights of the season was meeting up with a former student, George Cottrell, who worked for me in my library at the community college. He’s been a race fan since his high school days and now writes for the Daily Racing Form. Two weeks ago he arranged to take us up to the sixth floor to the track announcer and race caller’s booth. Rob Geller was born in England, moved to Australia when he was two. He came to Emerald Downs after a six-year stint in Hong Kong where he was the race caller in English. There is also a race caller in Mandarin. When Emerald Downs closes he will call races at a track in New Mexico called Sunland Park. We had a wonderful conversation for over a half-hour with Rob, during which he would intermittently switch on the mike to make announcements concerning the upcoming race. I wondered how he memorized the horses’ names. When they were warming up on the back stretch he took a look at them through binoculars, matched the names with the colored and numbered saddle cloths, and was ready to call the race. He’s been calling races for seventeen years or more so he surely knows how to have the card in hand. And as usual he did a wonderful job of it. We appreciated George’s effort to get us an invitation to the booth where few people get to go and to Rob for his warm welcome and the time he spent with us.

Afterward George showed us the suites in which people more wealthy than I can party and enjoy the races at the same time. We found an empty suite and watched the sixth race from high above the finish line before returning to our grandstand seats.


Blogger Bill Crider said...

Here's hoping you make up the losses and go home a winner for the season.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Frank Denton said...

That's not likely this late in the meet. But I've had a wonderful time, met some very nice people, a couple of trainers and one owner. And I've gotten to see a lot of beautiful horses doing what they do, running. It's been a blast and I can't wait for April.

4:08 PM  

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