By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
@body:Meanwhile, out in the cubes as the workday winds down toward quitting time, the staffers have returned to their duties. The handicappers review their remote-control selections. The PP jockeys finish their Sisyphean compiling gig. Larry Crowley moves the last of the day-after-tomorrow's racing news out of his computer directory. Duke Dosik has but a few remaining screens of data to dish toward the setting sun. Wayne Monroe has cradled his portable phone.
Across the room, Doug Miller, 23 and already a veteran of 21 Grateful Dead concerts, waits not nearly patiently enough for late results from westerly time zones. Miller grew up 15 minutes from Belmont Park, got a college degree in creative writing from UofA and learned about this job by bugging some guy on an airplane who was reading the Form. "I'm inclined to say something to anybody reading a Form outside a racetrack," he says. The guy turned out to be a Form employee, who told Miller about the paper's move to Phoenix. Miller's father took him to the track for the first time at age 13. "He showed me how to read the Racing Form and I picked the favorite and I won," he says. "Irish Waters. Paid $4.80 to win. I lost the next race and a torrential rain fell, wiping out the rest of the day. My father said he'd never seen that before."
With a couple of years of college to go, Miller got into the professional-horse-racing-journalism business by writing the editor of the Racing Times, describing a couple of his own "big hits" (I had Alysheba in the 87 Derby.") and proclaiming that he would quit school for the right job in the business. "My mother said she thought it was a shitty idea," he says. "I said you have no say in the matter."
Miller did eventually work for the Times, but returned to campus when it folded. Now he works at a Racing Form computer terminal all day (pausing only to take lunch with his co-workers at a nearby grill), paddling down the data stream. "It's like being a stockbroker, this job I have now," he says. "I'm constantly exposed to this information. How could I not bet on it? It sucks that way."
@body:These people are at the track, standing near the finish line. It's Belmont Park, near New York, a year ago. "It was me, my sister and my dad's girlfriend," says Doug Miller. "We had my dad's ashes in a jar. The place was completely empty. It was August, so everybody was up at Saratoga. It's this huge place, a mile-and-a-half track. It was 6 in the morning. They must have been working some horses, because it was completely empty. They stood at the rail and I hopped up onto the track. I took his ashes and spread em at the finish line. Mixed them into the dirt.
"Some of the best times of my life were with my dad at Belmont.