Nov 5, 2011

Mr Rooney Hits the Finish Line

"Who do ya like?"

There's a question asked several hundred times each day at the Summer Place to Be, aka Saratoga Race Course. On this afternoon circa 1985, it was coming in my direction from a gentleman in the next box. I recognized the guy with his elbows leaning in my direction as Mr Andy Rooney.

A product of Albany and well on his way to being a pop legend of the little screen with his Sunday night WTF? segments on 60 Minutes, Mr Rooney was a regular in the Spa's upper clubhouse, just a short trek from his home down in nearby Rensselaerville. Of interest was that he sat in the company of a Roman Catholic priest that day.

"I like the 3, on top of either the 6 or 7,"
was my reply after lifting my head out of the Form. "But don't take it to the bank."

But he did, given he gave me a thumbs up after the 3 nipped the 7 at the wire for a handsome exact.

"What are you drinking? I owe you one," he growled over.

I passed, telling him that I tend not to drink when doing serious handicapping -- which was and is a (mostly) true statement.

"You just might be the smartest guy in the house," is what I got back.

Good thing he didn't see my bankroll at the end of the day. If I recall, I think I gave it all back. Today's news makes me harken to that brief interlude with Mr R, and wishing I had taken him up on his gracious offer on that warm sunny day.

I don't remember seeing him over the last ten or so years at the track, however. Most likely, the fame part of the game - which he detested and made mention of in his last TV show -- chased him away. If so, that's too bad, for he played the part well of your typical race track character.


Anonymous said...

I saw him there, too, maybe within that 10 year window.

Anonymous said...
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West Side Black Guy said...

I thought he was annoying. He made me NOT watch 60M. But he's a good bragging point for Albany and the area.