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Thirty Tons a Day: The Rough-Riding Education of a Neophyte Racetrack Operator Hardcover – November 17, 1972
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Top Customer Reviews
He succeeded in his battles against the government (thanks mainly to the judicial branch) but was finally done in by his own holding company, Realty Equities. The bittersweet final chapter describes the farewell party he threw for his friends who had joined him in his two-year, and ultimately bankrupted racetrack venture.
It was a wild two-year ride and Veeck is a very colorful character, even when he is talking about holding companies and Boston politics. During his tenure at the track, he had the pay toilets and artificial flowers banned from the facility, staged chariot races and livestock giveaways (Brahma bulls and a Thoroughbred). There was also going to be a reenactment of Custer's last stand, which alas was rained out (Veeck didn't have much luck with the weather during his tenure). He also inaugurated what was then the richest turf race in the world, the Yankee Gold Cup, won by the French horse, Jean-Pierre (so there are a few horses mentioned in this book, just not as many as you might be led to believe by the title).Read more ›
In the late-1960s, it appeared that his trek in baseball was over, so Veeck played a longshot, becoming president of Suffolk Downs, a Thoroughbred track near Boston, Massachusetts.
With comedic interludes - but oftentimes very biting commentary - Veeck and co-author Ed Linn chronicle the small victories and grand frustrations while operating a facility which carried the moniker, "Suffering Downs."
There are battles with an alleged corrupt system of politics at the local and state levels, a Boston-based media with its own personal agendas (vendettas) and racetrack owners in the region who had their eyes set on a larger slice of the pari-mutual pie, at the expense of Suffolk Downs.
Through the muck, Veeck was the consummate showman, having events like a chariot race, a Brahman bull "giveaway," a major stakes race - the Yankee Gold Cup - and an attempt to re-create Custer's Last Stand, while fighting for additional racing dates and to have children admitted into the track with adults.
After two years, Veeck's race was over, as the conglomerate which owned the facility toppled under the weight of financial ruin, while yanking profits out of the racetrack and tossing them into failing enterprises.
Published in 1972, there are a number of controversial issues discussed by Veeck that are still running as strong on racetracks as a Triple Crown contender. That is what makes the book as timely a read today as it was nearly 40 years ago.
The book is about Suffix Downs in Boston or as they called it "Suffern Downs".
Bill Veeck is famous in Baseball, but he got tangled up in horse racing with a job to try to save Suffix Race Course.
The book is at time very funny and at other times you can see that the track is going under and no matter what Veeck did or tried to do the downward spiral was unstoppable.
Where I grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts the Race track called Berkshire Downs closed in 1969 (summer).
With the closing of Boston's Race Track, Horse racing has come to an end in Massachusetts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just finished reading this 1972 gem about the colorful Mr. Veeck's efforts to buy and operate Suffolk Downs horse track in 1970s Boston. Read morePublished 15 months ago by 80s Product
Veeck is a character, wish I had been around Suffolk Downs when he was running things! It was a wild and crazy time.Published 23 months ago by Margo Palmer
People have to understand that Bill Veeck's skills as a promoter were not confined to the diamond. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by Michael J. Fawcett