Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's a sure bet you'll have a good time at Eureka Downs

Did you know that Eureka Downs is older than the Kentucky Derby? The Horse Racing Capital of Kansas got its start in 1872 and has been going strong ever since.

What a good time we had at this ol' track.

But you won't see any horse pictures here. I hadn't got that far.

In the third race, a horse took a bad tumble past the finish line on a muddy, wet, messy track. Three more horses and jockeys tumbled over the first horse and that was it for the day. A good call to end it there.

I was already sold on the place. You could get (relatively) close to everything. You could walk up to the fence in front of the stables and take a look at the horses before they left their numbered stall for the starting gate.

Or, you could stand right beside the track railing for a bird's eye view.

Everything was simple and comfortable. Nothing fancy. There was an enclosed area above the bleachers but we didn't go there. There was too much culture to absorb!

Early on we ran into Heather Fuesz and her son Cash. At one point she sent him to get a sno cone, his second of the hour. No worries. Then he found a comfortable place to eat it.

Though I had no idea what all the odds and numbers meant, I boldly chose a horse called "Neewolah," another one called "Racing Wonder" and another one that had a Kansas name. I placed a trifecta bet asking for a $2 bet on each. Somehow that cost me $18. I didn't bet after that. It was easy to realize I needed an upgrade in strategy.

There are a few races left. June 27, 28 and July 4. General admission is $3. Gates open at 11:45 and the first post is at 12:30. There are usually seven races on any one racing day.

Then, on July 10-12 parimutuel races take place at Anthony Downs, just outside of Anthony. Horse races. Greyhound races. Same track. The wooden stands are classic. For more information go to www.anthonydownsraces.com.

With Heather, we discussed the idea of having an Explorers Day at the track next year. We'd devote a whole day to learning every aspect of the horse racing business from raising and shoeing horses to talking to a jockey and getting a lesson on betting. From pasture to race track, we'd learn all about it. Wouldn't that be fun?

If going to the race track isn't something you normally do, that's even more of a reason to catch one of the races left this year. It's a culture all into itself and it's just as much fun to people watch as it is to horse watch.

Learning about various aspects of rural culture helps a person "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner

1 comment:

Keyta said...

I so miss going to the horse races now that the Woodlands has closed down. thanks for giving me an alternative! I hope to be able to go on July 4th!