National Jockey Club at Hawthorne Racecourse, Stickney, IL, April 3, 2004

128 racetracks I've been to, and not a single one, save old Sportsman's Park, have I ever been told I couldn't take pictures. Breeders' Cups, Arc, Preakness, Irish Derby, All-American Futurity, Pacific Classic, whatever, never, except at Sportsman's. Until today.

Yup, the old National Jockey Club crowd from Sportsman's was up to it again, this time at the transplanted Illinois Derby at Hawthorne (where I have never had picture problems before). I was out on the apron getting ready to take a picture of the Illinois Derby field running down the stretch when a Natiional Jockey Club security goon walks by, sees my camera out, and gets on my case about "no pictures".

Biggest day of the year at this track, thousands of casual fans that'll never be there except for today, and they're hassling people about taking personal pictures. And I wasn't the only one, as it was quite the talk of the grandstand floor.

Fine, NJC, if that's the way you want it. No further coverage or pictures of the Sportsmans meet, EVER, at the McChump site or in any Internet post by me. Except of course for that ones I got (below) and am now putting up on the Internet, you boobs.

And a temporary boycott on betting your races, as well.

Geez Louise, you'd think this was the world's most popular sport, or something, where you could afford to treat your fans like that. But hopefully we will get slots in Illinois soon and you don't have to take us into account at all.

Epilogue:

Somehow Mr. Tom Carey III, the head honcho at Hawthorne, got wind of my displeasure at the above events, and sent me a nice email apologizing and assuring me that it was okay for fans to take fan pictures at Hawthorne. As a result, the boycott on ever mentioning Hawthorne again will be limited to 2004 only.

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