A Night at the Races

If you’re going to a work related Christmas Party, how does the build up to that event make you feel?  Giddy with excitement?  Nauseous?  Like shooting yourself in the foot just to get out of it?

And if it’s your spouse or significant other dragging you off to theirs, are you okay with that?  Or is it something you dread?

I’ve been on both sides of the fence when it comes to these things.  Some I’ve enjoyed, others have been ordeals from the bottomless pits of hell.  Ha.  You think that’s an exaggeration?  Ummm….no, it’s not.

And the thing is, you never really know until you’re there and living it how it’s going to turn out.   All you can do is show up with a smile on your face and hope for the best.  Well, last night turned out to be one of the best Christmas Parties EVER.  It was casual, the food was great, I drank a lot of wine, and we all bet on the horses.  I seriously want to make this into a tradition, it was that much fun.

harness racing at Northlands 001We had a small banquet room on the fourth floor with candle lit tables and big windows overlooking the race track.  We were all snug and warm inside and I know some of us were feeling a little guilty about those poor horses and drivers out there in the cold.  It was at least 20 below!  Are they crazy?

I suppose no crazier than the people who show up to watch and place their bets.  This helpful Official Program explained how to play the horses.  I didn’t get much farther than the basic and combination bets of Win, Place and Show.  The rest was (and still is) a lot of racing gobbledygook – Exactor, Triactor, Win-3, Pick-4, Superfecta. I was just happy to say things like “two dollars on 5 in race 8 to place” like I had a clue what I was doing.

There’s all kinds of information on stats and starts, trainers, owners, breeders, handicaps, payouts, purses, and of course the odds.  All a bit mind-boggling for the novice.  So I did what I’m sure most newbies do at these things and picked the names I liked.  Sweet Like Candy, Cinderella Smile, The Sin Bin.  I think Farm Team won me some money!  With two dollar bets it’s not likely I’ll retire on my winnings, but I think I raked in a whopping thirty-four dollars over 12 races. The best I did was having two of my picks place second and third in the same race.   Raging Fingers, I’m a Wildcat and The Missing Sock?  Too good to pass up. A couple of races ended in a photo finish and my “show” bet got bumped to 4th.  Life is full of such great disappointments – I think he would have paid out at a staggering three dollars and change.  Trust The Artist was a big bust, and I should have bet on Sharkalucchi but I didn’t.  And I should NOT have bet on Minettaszoombyyall but I did.  The odds were 15-1 and I don’t know if the horse even showed up for the race, never mind zooming by y’all.

A very popular Champion. Breed:Kaldblodstraver

A very popular Champion. Breed:Kaldblodstraver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While all this racing hoopla laughter and excitement was going on we were treated to an excellent hot buffet meal, drinks, dessert, and coffee. Meanwhile those poor horses and jockey’s froze their asses off for our entertainment.  We are all suffering from chronic brain freeze tough and hardy Canadians up here, y’all!

I’ve never considered myself much of a gambler, and the VLT’s and slot machines have never been a temptation.  But going back to the races sometime is definitely on my agenda.  Like in the middle of July maybe.  I think I’d rather see a horse sweat than dangle icicles from its nostrils.

As far as Christmas Parties go, I’m rating this one a 10 out of 10.  What are the odds of that happening?  But it has, and even though I’m a little lighter for cash today, I’m happy I got to be a part of it all.

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8 thoughts on “A Night at the Races

  1. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the harness horse on your post. My father’s family owned harness horses for generations and he was a top-notch driver and trainer until he died of a heart attack after coming in second in a photo finish race in 1978. The family said he died happy if he died on the track except he would have wanted to win that last race. I don’t know of any tracks in our area that offer this kind of evening – it would be perfect for my family.
    Lillian

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  2. I guess they are called drivers and not jockeys, aren’t they? What a way to go – doing exactly what you love to do. Some of those photo-finish and dead heat races had our hearts racing, that’s for sure. Never knew it could be so exciting. If you find somewhere that’s not too far away where harness racing is happening, I hope you go!

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    • We have racing in our area but so far as I know, no banquet rooms available that overlook the track. That sounds perfect, although my favorite place to watch races before they got so safety-conscious was trackside hanging over the fence.
      Lillian

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