December 9, 2011 - 10:18 PM
By Gene Kershner
It’s time to get down and get shopping before the big day in a couple weeks. Do you have a racing fan in your life? Need a few tips of what to get him/her to put under the tree on Christmas or pass on for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? You’ve come to the right place for our annual shopping guide for the racing fan in your life.
1) On-line subscription to HRTV. If you are a DirecTV subscriber you have no access to HRTV which means when the big races are at Gulfstream, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, Oaklawn, etc. you could be shut out watching the races.
2) The Horse Race Analyzer. This is a nice collectible, that still may have some functionality. It predicts the outcomes of certain races based on several different data points that are entered into the computer. Originally sold by Mattel Electronics, who also developed Intellivision, you can find it on eBay for a decent price. The hand held device was invented by Dr. William Quirin, who has written handicapping books, and Evan Mandel.
3) Horse Racing Doormat. What could say “Welcome!” more than a horse racing doormat? Also makes a nice home warming gift.
4) Jockey Cuff Links. Have a formal black tie affair you have every year and you want to spruce up your look?
5) Jockey Bow Tie. If you’re going with the cuff links, why not the bow ties?
Of course, if you’re not going to any formal parties or really don’t need a doormat for the front porch, there are always a number of collectibles to be had on eBay. A quick search of the site rendered the following items available for bid:
6) Bobbleheads. From a Laffit PIncay Jr. bobblehead and Lucky Louie from Remington Park to lat year’s horse of the year, Zenyatta, bobbleheads are aplenty for this holiday season.
7) Racing Pins. Racing pins are fairly inexpensive and you can find some gems, especially during holiday season. One recent search had a 1995 Ak-Sar-Ben race track official pin for the former track located in Omaha. You’ll notice that the track name is Nebraska spelled backwards! Triple Crown pins are easily available and make a nice stocking stuffer for the race fan who dresses up for the big days.
8) Souvenir Glasses. All of the Triple Crown races over the years have souvenir glasses, whether they hold a Mint Julep, a Black-Eyed Susan or a Belmont Breeze, it’s a nice way to commemorate a past trip to one of racing’s main events.
9) Old Racing Programs. Available on-line were programs from the 1968 Tucson Turf Club, Hialeah Park, and a Mint 1978 Marlboro Cup Program, when Seattle Slew took on Affirmed, in the only race that two Triple Crown winners ever faced off.
10) Horse Racing Badges. These appear to be popular items overseas, so why not grab one and bring it back to the States. The coolest one I found was a 1932 Czechoslovakia Jockey Club member badge. I found others mainly from the UK, Australia and even Russia online.
So there you have it, some interesting gifts and treasures at your fingertips to give to the racing aficionado in your life. Happy holidays.
Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.