How I Got into Horse Racing

by Pete Monaco

I’m often asked how I became involved in horse racing and thought answering that question would make for a decent column.

My grandfather was born in 1906 in Queens, N.Y. and 12-years later found himself laying in the hay, listening to several drunk jockeys playing cards in a back barn at Jamaica Racetrack. There was no T.V. back then and kids had to do something to stay out of trouble and earn a few pennies. He found his new source of income and entertainment entirely by accident when a friend told him that the jockeys often left small treasures around the barns after these late night games. My grandfather and his friends would scour the hay in the late mornings and some of the bounties consisted of one cent deposit bottles, packs of cigarettes and small change. But once in a while, a dollar bill, gold chain or a watch could be found. But my grandfather was always more intrigued by what joyous event had transpired in the previous evening that would cause you to leave your watch or money behind…

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