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Horseplayers: Life at the Track

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  44 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
This fun and witty exposé of horse racing in America goes behind the scenes at the track, providing a serious gambler's-eye view of the action. Ted McClelland spent a year at tracks and off-track betting facilities in Chicago and across the country, profiling the people who make a career of gambling on horses. This account follows his personal journey of what it means to b ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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Mark Vrabel
Nov 02, 2013 Mark Vrabel rated it really liked it
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal once proclaimed: "It is the same in gambling, and the same in the search for truth...We never seek things for themselves--what we seek is the very seeking of things." To me, gambling has always been so much more than a (socially stigmatized) pastime of wagering on the outcome of an event. It is an endeavor that has at its very core this "seeking of things"; ultimately, what is most satisfying is the vested interest in the game, race, hand of cards or roll of ...more
John Johnson
Feb 24, 2016 John Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I bought this book because I am very interested in horse racing and learning to be a better handicapper. McLelland gives a very good look at the life of regulars at the racetrack, primarily through the eyes of losing gamblers and their different personalities. If you are thinking about becoming a professional horseplayer, then I definately recommend reading this book first. It gives a good description of how one guy became a winning bettor, and how many have become losers.

This book will probably
...more
Nicolas Ayala
This is a fun book if you're a fan of horse-racing especially if you live in the Chicago metropolitan area. He spends most of his time split between Arlington Park in the north-west suburbs and Hawthorne in Berwyn right outside of Chicago. You really get a feel for what it's like to be a professional gambler and the author leaves the reader with valuable life lessons.
Justin Thyme
It was kind of sad, but very interesting. I really want there to be more winners. Obviously in any big business, the little guys always get crushed. That's why there is always huge casinos and luxurious horse tracks. This book was well written, and I really liked how the author Ted McClelland spent so much of his time in the lifestyle. I am very impressed by his own willpower, if it were me I would have blown the whole advance. Or made a grip doing it, in which case I would have never finished t ...more
Itasca Community Library
Nick says:

This is a fun book if you’re a fan of horse-racing especially if you live in the Chicago metropolitan area. He spends most of his time split between Arlington Park in the north-west suburbs and Hawthorne in Berwyn right outside of Chicago. You really get a feel for what it’s like to be a professional gambler and the author leaves the reader with valuable life lessons.
Adrian
Writer McClelland decides to see if he can make it as professional handicapper for ten months. Terrific romp through a season of horse racing. Comparable to Bill Barich's "Laughing in the Hills". Excellent portraits of other horseplayers and plenty of insights.
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Edward McClelland is the author of Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, which will be published in October by Bloomsbury Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, and on the websites Salon and Slate, among others. A graduate of Michigan State University, he lives in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood.

His previous books include Horseplayers: L
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