by Peter Lawrence, Contributor to VFTRG
Shafter, California on Sunday, Feb. 24, 1980.
Matinee races and barbecue at Joe O'Brien's ranch.
I ran several other photos from the day some time ago, including one of the great trotting mare Ima Lula winning that afternoon.
This was another race, for mini harness horses, and look who the winning driver on the inside was.
If I'm not mistaken, it was, umm, me!
Congratulating me was my life-long friend, Mitch Asher. We grew up together in Brooklyn - attended grade school and junior high together, separate high schools in NYC and separate colleges on opposite coasts - and were reunited in California when I went to work for O'Brien in 1978.
Mitch's date for the day, whose name I could never come up with now, is standing with him, and the other girl was the girlfriend of Danny Rosenblatt, who shot the picture.
Mitch, Danny and I were inseparable in our Brooklyn days, living near each other and attending the races at Roosevelt Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, and sometimes - in Mitch's case - Monticello Raceway.
Danny and I groomed at MR in 1973 and '74. I stuck with the business, but he didn't, instead throwing his life away in eventually earning a doctorate at Berkeley, aka the University of California.
(The "throwing away" isn't serious, of course. Dr. Rosenblatt is a long-time Silicon Valley chemist married to a dentist.)
Mitch, unfortunately, passed away in late 2011 in Florida.
I miss the heck out of Mitch. We had quite a 55-year run together.