Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Day At The Races

Greetings from the road! On Thursday, we went to Arlington Park (a.k.a., "the track") to watch some good ol' fashioned horse racing. The fabulous Depression-era old wooden grandstand structure burned to the ground about 20 years ago, and despite the track being less than 2 miles from where I grew up, I had not been to the new facility since. Kinda like when they installed the lights for night games at Wrigley, but that's another post.

I was quite impressed by what we saw. The facility is absolutely spotless, wide open space, beautiful horses, abundant seating (and high-stakes boxes, which we did not inspect), and family friendly - as long as you don't sit behind dudes smoking cigars - cough, gasp - which they sell at $5 a pop, along with $8 packs of ciggies, at the concession stands. Worth a few bucks on a sunny summer afternoon if you are ever in the Chicago area.

Here we are, walking in to the park. What you see here is the waiting area for the horses - the grandstand is off-camera to the right. You can walk over and take a look at the contenders before you place your bets, and then the horses are walked/paraded around this inner track by the stablehands before heading through the tunnel, beneath the grandstand, for the races.

WOO HOO!!! I won the princely sum of $12.10 on a $5 bet in the fourth race on this horse, "Fashionable Time" (picked solely for the name, of course). He started at 8-1 when I placed my bet, but I guess he looked good over in the holding area, because the odds dropped precipitously in the 15 minutes before the start...and unlike in Vegas, the payout is on the odds at the start time...not the odds when you place the bet.

Ahhh yessss.....the Princess has caught race fever. Here she is on the rail at the finish line. She actually won twice - one on a win bet, and one on a SHOW bet that she made, via her grandmother. She had the race list ("green sheet") on her lap and was studying it assiduously all afternoon - once she ascertained that there were no horses named "Dover" ( so she could tell him/her to "move yer bloomin' arse") she got down to business. Good thing we don't live here...we had to drag her away with three races to go.

So that's the word from the Windy City (well, the NW suburbs, really). Hope you're all having a good time, and I recommend watching the Arlington Million today if you are not in the Olympic mood.