cover image BETTING ON MYSELF: Adventures of a Horseplayer and Publisher

BETTING ON MYSELF: Adventures of a Horseplayer and Publisher

Steven Crist, . . DRF Press, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-9726401-0-7

This rollicking memoir by established horse-racing expert Crist (Offtrack; The Horse Traders) is often fast paced and exciting. When Crist takes a chance trip to Boston's Wonderland Greyhound Park in 1977 to avoid thinking about his senior-year English thesis at Harvard and editing the Harvard Lampoon, he finds that the track's printed program statistics on the dogs gives him "something that was pure and straightforward and utterly without fakery" and reveals his true calling—studying and betting on horse races. Fortunate enough to get a night copyboy job at the New York Times, Crist begins a wild personal and professional ride that includes a long stint as the Times horse-racing reporter; a brief time at the Racing Form, which he started; an equally short tenure as racing consultant to the New York State government; and finally as the successful bidder for the prestigious Daily Racing Form. Along the way, Crist provides numerous insights into legendary sports writers such as Joe Hirsch, the racing industry itself ("incredibly disorganized and casual about where the money was going") and the ins and outs of completing complicated business deals—insights that are driven by an energy and optimism that can come only from someone who truly loves his work and what it represents for him: "One of the great things about the racetrack is that every day the game begins anew and with unlimited promise." (Sept.)