Despite the fact that the live races only went off every 25 minutes, there were plenty of distractions. I was, at that age, especially intrigued by the esoteric fine print inside my racing program — symbols and codes and weird gambling runes that tracked the past performances of the horses in a given race. Serious players break down this sea of information to find an angle, and I try my best to do so nowadays — although at the time I was more reliant on the selections of the handicapper for The Philadelphia Inquirer, whose chart Grandpop Joe would invariably have torn out of the paper for me before leaving. He, like the horseplayers in Luck, had little need for the crib sheet himself. With years of experience handicapping, outside help was extraneous. Maybe even insulting.
Nice piece about Luck on Bygone Bureau.