Dave Feldman Day in Chicago

Hawthorne Racecourse, Stickney, IL, Sunday, Oct 10, 1999

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful warm Fall day in Chicago, and in between the betting on the local races and the rushing inside to watch the races from rainy Belmont (and noting that the weather at KEE was also less than ideal and we were damn glad we were here rather than either of those two places), the Hawthorne fans were treated to a special Dave Feldman Day ceremony down in the Winner's Circle.

Following the conclusion of an exciting, but for me unprofitable, $6,000 claiming race, Dave got to present a blanket to the winner of that race. Then there was a nice little ceremony.

After a bit of preliminary hoopla, Mr. Tom Carey of HAW read a statement by Mayor Richard M. Daley, quite heavy on the whereases. Like "whereas" Dave Feldman did this and that and the other thing, and "whereas" Dave Feldman pretty much invented racing in Chicago singlehandly, Mayor Daley officially proclaimed it Dave Feldman Day in Chicago. Right then I felt pretty bad I hadn't shaved that morning, but not super bad, because hizzoner Mayor Daley himself had been otherwise engaged and was not on hand to personally honor Dave Feldman.

At approximately this time, whether by design or circumstance, the tunnel to the infield was finally opened for all the people who were there for the big Steppenwolf/Alice Cooper after-race concert to traipse on behind the Winner's Circle and down the tunnel. So there was quite a big crowd on hand to serve as background for the cameras that started clicking as the microphone was handed over to Dave Feldman.

Dave then proceeded to tell us about all the winners he had in his days as a trainer, and how he figured he'd probably been 80% ITM in his career, and how he had had many winners, so many winners he'd lost track, yes indeed he, Dave Feldman, had a lot of winners, and all you owners out there, you should be doing things just like Dave Feldman used to do. Right up till Dave opened his mouth it had been a nice normal ceremony, but after that, well ... Later I checked with the VP of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club and verified that I wasn't the only one wondering what the hell Dave was talking about at that particular time and why he had chosen those particular words of wisdom to pass along to all of us on hand. But that's what he did.

Dave got a plaque at this point, and then took the mike back to declare the sports writing staff of the Scum Slimes the best in the nation, in no uncertain terms. The sports editor for that particular publication, Dave's boss, beamed his approval. No doubt the amount of horse racing coverage in that rag will increase exponentially in the coming months now that he's got a taste of racing and special racing days like Dave Feldman Day.

Then after that, it was a few more races, and the local horse ran off with the HAW Derby, and it was time for the big Steppenwolf/Alice Cooper concert. I don't think maybe HAW expected nearly as many folks there as actually showed up because the beer lines were horrible everywhere and they ran out of hotdogs, but luckily the VP of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club has "connections" with the HAW bartenders so actual standing in line was for us a non-issue. Anyhow, there was lots of characters on hand for Alice Cooper, dressed up in all sorts of great get-ups, like for instance Jesus, and Dracula, and lots of motorcycle types, and it was just a bit chilly in that infield after the sun went down, and yahoos were dancing op top of the bathroom building, and the VP of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club lost 50 cents on a side bet of what song Alice would do to open his set (him: "Welcome to My Nightmare", me: "any other song". Sucker. [For the record: "Hello Hooray"]), and it was indeed quite a memorable Dave Feldman Day in Chicago.


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