Growing up in Hot Springs put horseracing in my blood. My grandparents landed there as carnies following the horserace circuit. My father grew up in the barns of the backstretch working as a groom and a hotwalker. He started taking me to the track as a child, teaching me to read the Daily Racing Form at the age of nine. Many years ago my father came to visit my wife and me in New York and he only wanted to go one place, to see the fabled Saratoga Race Course. We took him for Travers weekend, the highlight of the four-week race meet, and he was bowled over by the town and the track. “Why couldn’t Hot Springs do this,” he wondered. “This place is awesome. This is what Hot Springs should be like.”

“$100 to Win on Miami Ghost in the 2nd at Saratoga.” — David Hill, McSweeneys

See more #longreads from McSweeneys