Think speculating on sports memorabilia is a new thing..confined to the realms of baseball or football? Think again.
David Sweazy is vice president of operations for Churchill Downs, where he saw his first Kentucky Derby 40 years ago. He used to work the mutuel window, taking bets from customers. He told the Louisville Courier-Journal one of the more memorable stretches came during the 1970s.
Sweazy worked the “Derby preliminaries,” selling tickets on only the Derby. The decade that produced three Triple Crown winners – Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed – also produced speculators in sports memorabilia.
“People would come in, basically with briefcases,” he said. “It wasn’t uncommon for them to come in and say, ‘I want 2,000 or 4,000 two-dollar win tickets on Affirmed,’ or Spectacular Bid. They would not cash the tickets if the horse won.
“They would sit on them. If it won the Preakness and the Belmont, then the value of these tickets went up. They would sell them individually or get them framed with the program and sell them as a package. And if the horse didn’t win the Preakness or Belmont, then they would mail the tickets in here and cash them.”