Racing & Wagering

Happy Retirement "Jimmy G"

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/21/2014 #
  • It is nearly impossible to locate a photo of Jimmy Greenwald (aka Jimmy G) without his trusty camera & that’s how he liked it.

Since the late 1970s until his retirement at the end of last summer, Jimmy Greenwald toiled in relative anonymity and that was just fine for the television camera operator known affectionately to all as "Jimmy G."

While few racing fans knew Jimmy G. directly, anyone who has ever watched the signal from Arlington International was familiar with his work. For most of his career, Jimmy G. operated one of the hand-held mini-cams used to shoot the horses in the paddock, post parade and winner's circle – as well as being one of the primary camerapersons tasked with shooting features.

But to us Jimmy G. was more than a camera person – he was 'an artiste' who always sought the best and most interesting shots: capturing the post parade after showing a horseshoe in the flower bed; images of the horses charging to the wire shot so close that you could see each flair of a nostril; and reaction shots of happy horsemen when their charge was first through the wire to name just a few.

And Jimmy G's duties weren't limited to just shooting races. One memorable assignment, as chronicled in the Arlington barn notes in 2009, comes to mind:

However, perhaps the best endorsement of this ... simulated air assault at Arlington comes from Arlington Television's Jimmy Greenwald, who served as a cameraman during a dress rehearsal...

"I got to sit on the back ramp of a CH-46 (helicopter) while I was shooting," said Greenwald of (the) rehearsal. "We left from DuPage County Airport and the Marine cameraman and I rode along with eight 'grunts' (infantrymen) on the 'Chinook.' These guys are the best. For me, it's all about the Marines. Semper Fi!

"We came in from the East and left to the West," concluded Greenwald. "The entire exercise took less than 10 minutes, but I felt honored and privileged to be asked to ride along."

At the close of the 2013 Arlington meet, Jimmy G. surprised us all by simply punching his time card and saying that he was retiring and as such would not be returning for the 2014 season. His reason for the silent retirement was he didn't want anyone to make a fuss or throw a party in his honor – which of course would have happened. So with apologies to Jimmy G., today – perhaps a tad late – we are doing just that.

Over the years, many talented people worked on the other side of the lens from Jimmy and a few of them have taken time to send their thoughts:

Working with "Jimmy G" as my cameraman for 10 years at Arlington Park were the best days of my professional career. It was a treat and pleasure to work with the best cameraman in the business.

Jimmy was the ultimate professional at his job. Always getting the perfect shot with proper light, background, sound and always made me look my best. He did his job with an unwavering amount of energy and enthusiasm; always doing his job with a smile and a hip in his hop.

On a personal note, after working with Jimmy all those years, we not only have become friends but family. Our relationship went beyond the lens of the camera.

Jimmy has always been there for me. Always making time to take me to a doctor appointment or be in a recovery room when I woke up or just walk the dogs. He is the person that everyone wants to call their friend.

I have always said this about Jimmy... "If I was in a sinking boat, he is one of the few people who I would want in my boat with a paddle, because with Jimmy G paddling I know we would make it to shore!"

God bless my dear friend, Jimmy G
---- Christine Gabriel, Arlington television personality (1995-2005)

Jimmy G was a delight to work with and be always brought his 'A' game every day and for every race, no matter the class of the race, the weather or any other circumstances. He was also funny, kind and supportive, and he sure has a great eye for the great shot. I could never have worked with anyone better for those three seasons.
---- Lynne Snierson, Arlington television personality (1992-1994)

Jimmy G is a laid back perfectionist. He puts 120% into everything he does and his energy is infectious. He loved his job and the people he worked with and I'm proud to call him my friend. If there was hall of fame for cameramen, Jimmy G. would be a unanimous, first ballot inductee.
---- Joe Kristufek, longtime Arlington television contributor

We have traveled a lot of miles together, literally and figuratively, from the very first time I went on camera at Arlington doing short interviews and feature pieces, through covering the Dubai World Cup. I can't think of a better person to have made the journeys with--calm, professional and always upbeat, Jimmy inspired enthusiasm and confidence with every reporter and racing analyst he ever worked with. Never one to be in the spotlight himself, he was, nevertheless, known and appreciated by every horseman and broadcaster he encountered. The amazing thing about Jimmy G, not only did he shoot things well, he always made the shoot fun. In the heat of the desert, in the middle of an all-day trail ride, in the midst of a torrential thunder storm, Jimmy G generally had a bounce to his step and a smile on his face and was ready to go wherever you sent him--committed to getting the shot. He did it long and he did it well--which is rare in this, and any game. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, Jimmy G does it with joy and with style.
---- Caton Bredar, Arlington television personality (1989-1990) and now part of HRTV broadcast team