Friday, July 18, 2008

New Thing #189--A Day at the Races

Tonight Tony and I did one of those things we always said we'd do "someday". We went to Fairmount Park racetrack and bet on the ponies .

Fairmount Park, in Collinsville Illinois, opened in 1925. When I was a kid, it was open a good chunk of the year. Now it has races only on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Party at the Park takes place every Friday night during the summer. The admission cost includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, drink specials, and a band (tonight's was Paint the Earth).

The doors opened at 6:00, so that's when we arrived; the line to get in was already several hundred people long! There were no tables left by time we got to the room, which was on the second floor of the clubhouse, but Ray and Pauline, a very nice couple, agreed to share their table with us. Ray said the way to insure a place to sit was to arrive early; they had been waiting in line for 45 minutes.

There were people everywhere! The lines for food (there were tables that held salad and veggies, fried appetizers, hot dogs, and nachos) and drinks were very long. Fortunately the first race didn't start till 7:30 so we had time to eat, study our program, and make our bets.

I know people who go to racetracks on a regular basis and take their betting very seriously. I wasn't one of those people. I had a "theory" for betting that ended up working about half the time, and left me pretty much break even at the end of the night. The most exciting race was when my horse came from the back of the field to win after I had written him off and stopped watching! I tried a couple of more exotic wagers, and came very close to winning a substantial purse.

At the end of the night we walked outside to watch the last two races. The temperature had gone down, and it was very pleasant. We stood on the rail and had a great view of the horses galloping by us at the finish line.

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