The stadium stands are crowded with a cross-section of society. Milling around they are either bored or deep in animated conversation. They mostly cluster around the bookies next to the finishline. Except for the hordes of teenagers who populate the stands; away from the bars and the restaurant and formica countered burger bar. Most of the punters are simply there for a night out and readily queue up to put their £1.00 on a dog who’s name they like. The Tote, staffed by weary grannies, does a brisk trade. The more seriously inclined betters hold court around the bookies and make light of the changing odds with serious faces. If you’re patient you might spot the occasional Godfather. They are aloof and quiet and sometimes attended by tense-faced wannabees. Often they’ll stand in twos or threes – always quiet, always watchful. They never bet. Or almost never. These are the people who’ve dedicated their whole life to the dogs. They are often owners or trainers, and when they do show their money…. it’s a great deal of money. This results in the regular punters exchanging hushed whispers and knowing winks. The bookies embark on a flurry of rubbing out with grim expressions.
An evening at the dogs is a familiar lesson in life; those in the know, and the clueless masses who pay for it all. Of course it’s a mistake to think the divisions are due to skill or learning. Like everything else in life – the dice are very heavily loaded.