Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney, IL, Dec 19

The December 19th meeting of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club was called to order shortly before the 2nd race. In attendance were the President, the Vice President, the Sgt At Arms, the Treasurer, and the Secretary.

Jockey Kelly Sampson, photo courtesy of Hawthorne RacecourseThe President came equipped with a lie about the cause of his tardiness in case anyone cared which they probably didn't; however any discussion of this was short-circuited by the President's disappointed observation that announcer Kevin Goemmer did not properly introduce jockey Kelly "Schwing!" Sampson in the second race post parade, as he left out the "Schwing!". The VP informed him that Kevin had done it right before the first race, and that the President had missed it, hah hah. The President was duly shamed that he had slept until ... uh, got caught up in the Bears traffic outside Soldier Field.

A motion to skip the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and go visit the beer stand instead was made and seconded, and carried with no dissenting votes.

The first order of business was the review of Kelly Sampson's record. According to the program, she was in sole possession of 25th place in the jockey standings through 12/16, with a record of 204-10-9-19, two wins behind her arch rival Jerry LaSala in 23rd, and just one place behind Uriel Lopez in 24th. Kelly had 7 mounts on the day, and if she could only win all 7, she could seriously threaten the #18 spot.

Kelly did not win the 2nd race, and the President discovered that with the help of a new software program he was trying out, he was still quite capable of picking the 1st and 3rd horses for his exactas.

Old business was taken up next, and mostly consisted of double secret horse ownership business and gossip not to be repeated here. There was more than ample time for the Old Business section of the meeting, as the 3rd was delayed while jocks and the track super wandered the track looking for all the world like there might be a cancellation of racing; however, after some consultation, the heavy equipment made a reappearance and took an additional turn around the track, and racing resumed.

Kelly had no ride in the 3rd, and thus did not lose the race. Meanwhile the President and his program picks managed a nice $9.60 winner and $44 exacta in that 3rd, followed by a $57.60 exacta in the 4th (Kelly not ITM in that one), thus insuring at least a non-big-loser day, and all the pressure was off.

Over the course of the next few races, new business was taken up, the juiciest of the new business being the story making the rounds that a certain trainer, long rumored to be leading all trainers in having horses vanned off the track, had finally come to grief at the hands of the track veterinarians, and his major owner who had yanked all his horses out of the trainer's stable, and some track wit who had posted a "Wanted" poster of that trainer, quite an unflattering one but quite clever, down in the Racing Office, with the legend "Wanted: [mr. x], for Equinicide and possible Homicide". A resolution supporting this action was proposed and accepted unanimously.

Another resolution was proposed and accepted unanimously before the 6th, to wit: "It is a shame that Polar Expedition was scratched from the Sun Beau Stakes". All wanted to see the old hero run again, but could certainly understand the decision in the light of the less than perfect track condition.

Meanwhile, no more winners for the President except for the $64.80 exacta in the 8th and no winners at all for Kelly. Kevin did properly introduce Kelly before that 8th. Schwing!

After the 8th, the President took an approved field trip up to the Press Box, but most of the crew was busy coordinating the big Millenium promotion, a fan giveaway of a $1999 betting voucher for the winning fan to bet on the final race of the final day of the final year. No KS Fan Club member won this, but the old gentleman who did was quite a card and put on a good show for the TV. He bought out the trifecta, and then put the remaining $19 on the nose of the odds on favorite. Unfortunately, the odds on favorite won the race, and between the win bet and the cheesy tri that resulted, he got back maybe $70 of that $1999.

And so the president walked over the announcer's booth, and thanked Kevin Goemmer for everything he had done to make Chicago racing enjoyable in the last few years, including the inspiration for the Kelly Sampson Fan Club, and wished him well in his new job. And when Joe Kristufek came back up from emceeing the $1999 event, the President also wished him well in his new job at TRN.

And again, good luck to both of you, Kevin and Joe. The Kelly Sampson Fan Club appreciates everything you've done. It is sure not going to be the same next year. Back to the "Big Hair" productions. Yeesh.

And Kelly, too, what a great sport. Hope you're back next year.

Back downstairs, time for one last cocktail with the Fan Club, and some really really old business - "When are we going to Balmoral?" - was once again tabled, and the meeting was adjourned. Final cash voucher of the year cashed out - clean wallet for at least a few months.

There were still a good number of patrons on the floor, playing those simulblasts for all they were worth as the Fan Club headed out the door.

Hey - live racing again at a car track in just 2-1/2 short months. Can't wait. It'll be fun you betcha.