It was the young age of television. He won 19 of them, only losing the Kentucky Derby in a photo. He intrigued me. After a few years in daily journalism, and three years teaching college English, I went to work for the Daily Racing Form , known as the Bible of horse racing. That stint covered more than three decades. It won a Benjamin Franklin Award. Three other non-fiction efforts followed. Then, in , Poisoned Pen Press published my first racing crime novel, Blind Switch , which involved horses being killed for their insurance values.
My second novel, Riders Down , has as its villain a brilliant sociopath and serial killer who fixed races; it won another Franklin Award. Close Call followed in In it an Irish bookmaker attempts to forcibly take control of a Chicago area racetrack. The plots in my novels are sometimes suggested by real incidents, others by incidents that could have been real, considering the elements of intrigue that permeate racing.
Although there is far more provable chicanery in banking and the stock market than in this sport, racing has the reputation as a haven for shady characters. What major enterprise involving money does not? But racing, as a source of important revenue to states and municipalities, is stringently policed. Jockeys step on the scales under the eye of an official before and after each race to insure their mounts carry the assigned weight. This applies to every one of the thousands of the races conducted each year in this country.
Any enterprise featuring fierce competition, major money, and sometimes jealous rivals, contains possibilities for mystery fiction. Some of my fiction was suggested to me by real happenings. Most of it is the product of my imagination. John McEvoy is the author of four horse-racing thrillers, five non-fiction books, and a book of poetry.
He and his wife Judy live in Evanston, Illinois. Years ago, shortly after my first daughter was born, I enjoyed a rare moment of solitude lunching alone at a Macaroni Grill. Across the room, a little girl about six months older than mine sat strapped into a restaurant high chair pushing noodles into her mouth with pudgy fingers.
Being a wild daydreamer though, my mind was already wandering. Would I have called her mother to find out who was with the baby, or would that have seemed nosey? What if, just as I dialed the police on my cell phone, the couple paid their tab, picked up the baby, and left? Would I follow them out the door? Leave my own tab unpaid? I thought I might be able to build a decent story out of my imagined circumstances if I could find a way to make it unique.
A new mom. Then… enter sports. Still missing the thrill of planes, drop zones, and skydives, I wondered if maybe I could blend my experiences in an extreme sport with the missing child idea and somehow craft a suspense novel. I wove the skydiving element into the setting and plot and I liked how it enhanced the story.
Completing the manuscript and trying to get it published took years. During that time I discovered many new hobbies—all sports. My excitement for them was due as much to the interesting people I met as to the activities themselves. Ice hockey, marathons, distance cycling, triathlons… I was always training for something. When the time came to think about developing Final Approach into a series, it seemed a natural choice to set each Emily Locke mystery in a new sporting community.
As a writer, the decision thrilled me because the creative possibilities seemed limitless. The athlete in me approved too. Suddenly, my grueling early-morning workouts served a dual purpose—fitness and research! A graduate of Wright State University and The Ohio State University, Rachel works as a biomedical engineer and lives outside of Houston, Texas, with her husband and their three children. Visit her online at www.
In life, as in sport, timing makes all the difference. On the very morning Janet, the editor of Mystery Readers Journal , asked me to contribute to her sports-themed issue, a parcel arrived. Soho Press had just reissued the first two mysteries I wrote and it happened that one was about running, the other boxing. How could I resist? Wobble to Death , my first novel, was based on a painful form of endurance disarmingly called a go-as-you-please contest.
From the late s through to the s six-day races were staged first in London and then New York and the entrants were promised big prizes. They ran or walked by gaslight around a small track indoors day and night from Monday to Saturday and the best of them covered over miles. The running soon morphed into walking, shuffling and ultimately tottering.
The press called it wobbling. Thanks largely to the betting industry, wobbling became a craze and spread to many other cities across Britain and America. A century on, a more sedentary contest was advertised in London. This was rather more than my annual salary as a college lecturer so the money was a big incentive. For a novice writer with an interest in the history of running, the wobbles had potential as the setting for a mystery.
I remembered how some of the Victorian wobblers resorted to drugs to beef up their performance. The favoured stimulant was strychnine, helpful in minute doses, deadly if too much is taken. Indeed, when a victim jackknifes in agony, the effect is dramatic. As well as the matter of whodunit, there would be the added interest of who survived to win the race. I wish I could say I wrote the book in six days.
Actually it took four months. With much advice from my wife Jax, who was in hospital and reading mysteries at a prodigious rate, as well as my draft chapters, I finished Wobble to Death on time and sent it off. I suppose it had the merit of being different from most of the other entries. It won the prize and I was under way as a mystery writer. Good publicity attended the launch. Barbara Windsor, star of the Carry On movies, walked the first few laps with me and the real contestants.
I have to say that Barbara wobbled better than anyone else. In a mixture of elation and panic I tried to think what I could possibly write next. I stayed with sport, returned to the newspaper library, and started research on bare-knuckle boxing. Again, a brutal Victorian sport gave me the theme for a mystery. By the s bare-knuckle fighting was against the law but still practised in secret in muddy fields on the outskirts of London. There was no limit to the number of rounds.
The pugilists would fight until one was insensible or resigned. I contrived a story about a Scotland Yard man with a little skill as an amateur under the Queensberry Rules going undercover to expose a series of murders.
I was pleased with the title, but it caused embarrassment to an uncle of mine who went into Brighton Library and proudly asked if they had a copy of The Detective Wore Silk Drawers by his nephew, Peter Lovesey. They featured in eight books altogether and a TV series.
I moved from sport to entertainment for the others, using such backgrounds as the music hall, the seaside, spiritualism and the waxworks. In Swing, Swing Together , I returned to sport, though not of the competitive kind. It was a mystery about a rowing trip along the River Thames, a reconstruction of the journey in Jerome K. One other sport featured in the Sergeant Cribb books.
I attempted a thriller with spy elements, rather than a traditional whodunit. Rather than the invasion of Fort Knox in the James Bond story, my plot involved Irishmen mounting a bombing campaign in London using the delightfully named infernal machines to blow up public buildings. Instead of the famous golf match between Bond and Goldfinger, I staged a hammer-thowing contest with wooden-handled missiles. The Irish led the world at this sport, so it seemed appropriate. Forum posts: Forum topics: Members:.
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This made it illegal and gave birth to a vast underground betting scene, where it actually grew stronger as a tradition of the people. But sports betting did not stay hidden for long, as the high society in England developed a great fondness for it. They preferred to bet on horse racing, which made the industry flourish all over England and then spread to other countries and even other continents as well as a pastime activity for the bourgeoisie.
Sports betting was a tradition shared by people from all economic classes, which made it develop even further in the modern era. As more and more sports were introduced, more diverse people became drawn to this way of getting engaged with the sport that they prefer. It did not take long for it to boom into a billion-dollar business.
Back in the s, sports betting was legalized in the US, but only in Las Vegas. People could go and place their bets freely in Vegas casinos, but this limited the options to designated venues all located in a single US state. Predictably, this led to the development of an underground betting scene once more because so many people wanted to bet and only a very small part of them were actually willing to travel to Las Vegas to do so. In , New Jersey made a historic breakthrough when it managed to legalize sports betting within the state.
This is extremely important because it grants millions of sports fans the opportunity to bet on their favorite sports in a legal and safe environment. Now that sports betting is slowly inching towards legalization, there is a high chance that more American states will continue to regulate it. The main advantages of making this change are fighting the illegal sports scene and providing the people with a safe way to connect to their favorite sports events.
In the past sports betting was conducted in arenas, stadiums, and casinos, but the future brings betting online. Sports fans can now place their bets on highly-secure platforms from their computers, laptops, and smartphones. Online payment processes have been highly optimized to provide their users with the security they need for their transactions. Coincidentally, I came across another comment from a January, column. Three favourites won well, including Black Magic Opal and new record-holder Walk Hard, and three lost.
Every winner either jumped in front or got a saloon passage along the rails when others got tangled up. Clearly, what I was wary about six years ago is still an issue. So, if your dog is not a smart beginner, the message is to try somewhere else. A key point there is that, as a function of their galloping style, some dogs can maintain a relatively higher speed on the turn by comparison with their performances in the straight.
Others cannot do that, so they slow down and give way to the former group. The expectation would be that the larger the turn radius, the higher the speed they could show us and the safer the race would be. These days, the 51m category is usually confined to circle tracks alone — which is why you sometimes see pile-ups on their first turns.
The final in that Warragul Cup also illustrated the Plan B option as Black Magic Opal 7 and Paw Licking 1 — both brilliant sprinters — led well around the turn but then moved off a little and let the 3rd runner Walk Hard 5 through on the rail to then easily run down Paw Licking.
The film is worth watching. Starting closer to the turn has an obvious impact, whereas a longish run to the turn gives the field a chance to spread out more and reduces the chances of interference. For comparison, moving across to NSW, two TAB tracks — Dapto and Bathurst — have radii significantly below 50m and both have first turn hassles and a high fall rate. While the radius is just a starting point, it can be a useful red flag. All figures here are taken from official websites — which may require verification — or from our own national surveys.
The latter are subject to reporting by individual clubs but, if anything, may understate the numbers. In a short race career, Freda Rocks has been favourite five times but managed only a few places until a monstrous 16 length triumph in Everything comes to those who wait! History Repeats The other day I was scratching my head trying to figure out why some top dogs were finding it hard to get around the turn in the Warragul Cup heats — the main suspect being the limited portion of the trip allocated to the turn itself.
Rock On In a short race career, Freda Rocks has been favourite five times but managed only a few places until a monstrous 16 length triumph in
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