When you live in a racing town you do get spoiled. For a few years now I've said I won't go to the races unless I have a box for the day. After today, I'm not going to track unless I get to watch from the crow's nest, high above the track.
These guys are the finish judges, and they call the race from this booth over the finish line. Last night I met one of these officials (Ralph, here in the white shirt) at a dinner party, and he invited me to watch a race from up here. Their focus is phenomenal -- as soon as the race starts they're watching through big binoculars and calling the race; they're the ones who watch the digital images if it's closer than half a length, and they call the official results to the stewards. They know most of the silks by sight, and can identify the horses even when they're on the backstretch. We took an old, rickety, little elevator to get up here. "Mr. Otis doesn't know about this one," Ralph said.
For the next race there was a horse called Watson I Need You. Now if that isn't a nice tie-in to The American Story (see the story called "Hard of Hearing -- East" to see how) I don't know what is.
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