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This study of a unique social world probes beneath the thrill and spectacle of horse racing into the lives of the "honest boys," the "gyps," the "manipulators," the "stoops," and the "Chalk eaters"—the constituents of race track society and the players of the racing game. With scientific precision and journalistic vigor, Scott describes the everyday activities—the objectives and strategies—of those whose lives are organized around track proceedings and who compete with chance and one another.
The players in the racing game range from track owners to stable boys, from law enforcers to lawbreakers, and from casual sportsmen to pathologically addicted gamblers. Considering the self-interests, the normative and operational codes, and the interactional relationships among the major types and subtypes of participants, the author defines the components of strategic movement within the framework of rules and resources to show how a player's relations to the "means of production" governs his behavior.
The fruitful application of sociological theory and method to an unusually interesting social context makes this particularly useful still for courses in social problems and the sociology of organizations and of leisure.