Krantz Stable Updates
Why This is Better Than A Real Job
- Published: August 1, 2002
- Written by Bryan Krantz
Working at the race track has always been different than real life. No matter what part of racing a person becomes involved in, it is a bit like running away to join the circus. All of us have been able to gain worlds of knowledge about life, people and places along the trail of our work history. One of the great aspects of Fair Grounds being a family business is to share the experience with the family. This started early in life for me with my mother at the "old" Jefferson Downs and continues today with Vickie and our children here at the "new" Fair Grounds.
We have seen good and bad over the years but it has been one hell of a ride. As a 4-year-old, I got the early taste of racing, which left a residue of memories like an old black and white classic movie, nostalgic moments of history, which I will never forget. The first real taste of painful emotion came the morning after Hurricane Betsy in 1965 looking, mouth open, at the damage wrought by the storm. There have been many struggles over the years to keep it all going. As low as lows can be, there seems to be just as many high points. After hurricane Betsy, a later fire, numerous obstacles to building a new track the "new" Jefferson Downs was born on August 11, 1971. This was about as high a high as an 11-year-old could stand. The ride has continued all these many years and not much has changed.
History seems to repeat itself and our children have seen the devastation of destruction with the fire at Fair Grounds in 1993. They have played in the construction of the rebirth of the "new" Fair Grounds and they have tasted the spirit of competition on the race track through our stable. Part of the aura of the sport is the temple of passion, the race track itself. Each has its own personality and style.
I guess if you follow the sport long enough you get to know the track or tracks you enjoy. Following on TV just gives you a hint of the full flavor of being there. Fair Grounds has always conveyed a sense of New Orleans and the south. Evangeline Downs gives the earthy Acadian charm one might expect. In Kentucky, Keeneland and Churchill Downs define the heart and soul of Thoroughbred racing. Saratoga in upstate New York and Del Mar in San Diego are the absolute peaks of our racing world. All of these tracks have been part of our travels over the years and all have displayed great personality.
Three years ago we began discussions with English racing leaders concerning development of a relationship for presenting Fair Grounds races in the U.K. and European markets. This expanded to acting as the broker for all U.S. racing to the U.K. through "attheraces" and presenting English racing in the U.S. This discussion has required visits to London the last three summers. Working in a day at the races is an important part of the experience. This year the family got to come along for some tourist fun while Dad did the meetings on Friday and a day at the races at Ascot on Saturday for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. We attended with the Hogg family of attheraces and had a highlight experience for all. Ascot is a crown jewel of racing. The facility sits in the near shadows of Windsor Castle and has set the standard of elegance of racing for centuries with the images of the Royal meeting held every June. The dress requirements for men are morning suits and top hats. Ladies wear their finest afternoon dresses and most stylish hats fashion can offer. Our visit didn't come on the occasion of the Royal meeting but was a stylish affair nonetheless as witnessed by the accompanying picture.
One honorable mention for our pleasant visit goes to Mr. Scott Finley, who has been an important part of the business relationship with athteraces, but who also is a fine tour director for "yanks" in a foreign land.