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JimG 02-12-2004 04:12 PM

Favorite Racetrack to Spend the Day
What is your favorite track to attend and why? If not on list, please enlighten us below.


Valuist 02-12-2004 04:23 PM

While I don't like the CDI management at Arlington, it *IS* the top track to visit. No, the quality isn't Saratoga, but its not bad.

Suff 02-12-2004 04:26 PM

Re: Favorite Racetrack to Spend the Day

Originally posted by JimG
What is your favorite track to attend and why? If not on list, please enlighten us below.


I broke first. Surprisingly enough I voted for Del-Mar. Sure I love Saratoga. But thats a DESTINATION Track.

As far as a day trip. Like you blow out of work at 10:00 AM and just plan on having an early lunch and spending the day at the Track? Del-Mar. #2 GulfStream. They are can't miss....but If I had to rank them those are my 1-2

I lived in Carlsbad California for 18 months. My Office was in Kearney Mesa , right across from Mira Mar naval air academy where they filmed Top Gun. I drove PCH everyday , and Del-mar is spectacular.

cj 02-12-2004 04:31 PM

I went Monmouth, I just love the atmosphere, the out back paddock, the burgers outside. Never been to Del Mar for the live product, so I can't say about that one.

JimL 02-12-2004 05:01 PM

CJ, really with you on this one. Monmouth Park is the place to be. JimL

Tom 02-12-2004 06:28 PM

Woodbine,Fort Erie or Delware.
Wo and FE are beuatiful tracks, comfortable, really freindly people. FE probably more so than any. ALWAYS have a great day there, even if I lose.
Delware reminds me of Saratoga butwithout the crowds. vEry nice set up, very conducive to relaxation. I can handicap very easily at these three.
Penn would probably come in 4th, for its first class dining room with simulcasting.
Pha is a comfy track, too.
But number one....Fort Eirie. Plust, they have those delicious improted hot dogs there - Zwiegles!

IRISHLADSTABLE 02-12-2004 07:03 PM

Re: Favorite Racetrack to Spend the Day

Originally posted by JimG
What is your favorite track to attend and why? If not on list, please enlighten us below.


Saratoga has a special place in my heart . I've always
loved going there. Locally Belmont and Monmouth Park.
Turf Paradise was a nice track but the product stunk.


eclecticapper 02-12-2004 07:22 PM

As a native New Yorker I know I'm supposed to vote for Saratoga, but Keeneland is a wonderful place to spend the day (although I'd avoid big race days because it's really not designed to handle crowds of 25,000 or more). Terrific paddock, too. Lost some of its charm with the introduction of a public address system, but still a great location for a day at the races.

headhawg 02-12-2004 07:47 PM


Originally posted by Valuist
While I don't like the CDI management at Arlington, it *IS* the top track to visit. No, the quality isn't Saratoga, but its not bad.
Yeah, absolutely beautiful racetrack but not nearly the quality of racing that there used to be. But started happening even before they took over.

Zaf 02-12-2004 09:07 PM

1. Woodbine
2. Saratoga
3. Delaware Park


Tom 02-12-2004 09:11 PM


Originally posted by eclecticapper
As a native New Yorker I know I'm supposed to vote for Saratoga, but Keeneland is a wonderful place to spend the day...
Ya know, I plum forgot about Keenland. I was only here once, and there was no live racing, but it was a dream racetrack-never seen anything quite like it before. The set up was terrific, the food was actually good, the accomadations more than comfortable. I would love to go back for real racing.
Had the privilage of going there with the HTR group, which made it all the more memorable. That whole area of Kentucky was like something out of Gone With the Wind, in the early chapters.

kenwoodallpromos 02-12-2004 10:28 PM

I lied!
I like Vallejo best. 7/8 with small buildings, good surface, easy to handicap. Good fair food and a small fair with good exhibits too!

Show Me the Wire 02-12-2004 11:24 PM

1. keeneland for the beauty and gentry
2. CD for the history and party type atmosphere
3. Oaklawn for the track surface, enthusiatic fans, and the water
4. GP just because of the location

Show Me the Wire

Perception is reality

Steve 'StatMan' 02-12-2004 11:34 PM

Give Me HAW & AP
I love attending the races live at Hawthorne. I know the neighborhood isn't the prettiest, and the industrial sites nearby don't look nor smell very good, either. It is what they do for the players that has me loving that place, and overlooking their faults.

They have a wonderfully remodled Handicapping/Business Center there that is like a second home for me. My good friend Scott McMannis runs it, and is there every day of the live TB meets, reviews the card at the begining of the day, and is there to answer questions. There are plenty of new tables inside, and they have T1 connections so you can bring your laptop PC and get online. Plus they have a PC set up for the public to use as well. Big screen TVs + hands on access to the Video Library, you can review the replays as often as you want. If you need to make a copy or send a fax, they have equipment available right there in the room too (sponsored by Des Plaines Office Equipment). A number of friendly regulars and subscribers of Scott's are usually there.

They have free handicapping tournaments nearly every weekend, with a cash prize final round at the end of every month for those who qualified during the month (pick 2 winners out of 6 on any Sat. or Sun. to qualify for the Sat. or Sun. finals). Usually $2,500 worth of prizes given away on the last Sat & Sun. of the month.

Free contest every meet to win a new car (compliments of Mancari Chrysler/Plymouth). One of our buddies from the Handicapping Center won a brand new Dodge Caravan last spring. Others from the group have come close at various times.

(This next paragraph I wrote in another recent post:)
Hawthore and National Jockey Club(Formerly Sportman's Park) have a great ontrack rewards program - after acheiving point totals, essentially 4% returned for betting the live races, 2% on the simulcasts. Makes the live WPS pools 17% - 4% = 13% for ontrack players using their card (in contrast to IL OTB's where 17% + 2.5% IL Surcharge = 19.5% takout). Bonus points awarded on many occasions, like when the Bears cover the spread, when Carolina the underdog covered the spread in the Super Bowl, etc. (250 free points if you made any bet that day with your card ) 10,000 points for a $200 voucher. 2 points per $1 bet on live HAW races, 1 point for the simulcasts.

As for AP, yes, that is the pretty one! Plus about 50% of the fans are women! Plenty of trees and in a nice suburban area about 1 mile from my home. Walk around inside the place and you'd swear you're in a really nice shopping mall. Go outside on the apron on the weekend and see lots of people and the sunshine. Beautiful paddock area. Go to the Park area on Friday Nights with the bands and the Party In The Park, or on Sundays for Family Day, and feel alive and part of something. So for a cooped up workaholic like me, that place sure tends to pick up my spirits.

Show Me the Wire 02-12-2004 11:50 PM


No offense, but you need to get around more. Hawthorne is the least place I would want to spend a day at.

I know Scott and he definetly is an asset, but Scott and the bonus program are not enough to mention Hawthorne in the same breath as the other tracks.

As far as AP, all it has going is that it is a mismanaged beautiful facility and it is the closest track to my geographical location.

BTW women at Keeneland win hands down over AP

Try a McChump tour.

Show Me the Wire

perception is reality

Valuist 02-13-2004 12:28 AM


I know exactly what you are talking about. I have great memories of going to Hawthorne in that rundown industrial neighborhood, 40 degrees and overcast, the horizon filled with smoke from the nearby industries......and full fields and big payoffs race in race out. From a betting standpoint, I've made more money at Hawthorne than any other track; I won my first race as an owner there by 15 lengths; its 180 degrees different from Arlington, but in terms of gambling memories, they've been more pleasant at Haw than AP.

Steve 'StatMan' 02-13-2004 01:42 AM

Well thankfully HAW got fixed up real nice over the last few years, but too bad they can't pick it up and move it somewhere else, like over to where AP is. God forbid they ever have another fire there, but if they ever rebuild from the ground up again on that site, I'd recommend rotating the layout of the property 180 degrees. That way, you could look out of the grandstand and see the Chicago Skyline to the north and east, instead of having to look south at the smoke stacks, the oil refinery, the nickle plant, the Waste Managment facility, etc. Oh yes, and the Sanitary District (sewage canal and treatment plant) within a mile as well. :rolleyes: Of course, the bad part of doing a 180 there (besides someone coughing up $100 million) would be having to physically be that many more yards closer to all those places. ;)

The property does looks better in the summertime when there are leaves on trees, as opposed to the when the get to run TB's, in the spring, fall and winter.

Yeah, I know, it isn't like those other places. And I loved the beauty of Keeneland and was thrilled the few times I've been to historic Churchill. I thought Rockingham was nice. Someday I hope to see the world outside of Chicagoland again. :)

You're right SMTW, a good McChump Tour would be a great thing to do! I'm glad Terry's gets the chance to go on his roadtrips!

Oh well, for now, give me a really nice room to sit with my friends and favorite guru with me, a fast internet connection, and some perks that I can't get elsewhere, and I'm pretty happy. Send me to AP, and while I give most of the other perks, yes, my eyeballs sure are happy for a few months.;)

shanta 02-13-2004 09:13 AM

Belmont Park. I love the racetrack itself, like to sit in the park in the back with my laptop and watch the horses come to the saddling area.Then sometimes i will walk over to the top of the stretch to watch a couple of races run. All in all can't go wrong spending the day at "Beautiful Belmont Park"
Richie :)

hurrikane 02-13-2004 01:04 PM

have to go with Keeneland. The whole bluegrass area ooozzes horses.

after that,

Del Mar,
my boat with a sat link

witchdoctor 02-13-2004 03:05 PM

Keenland is my personal favorite. Got to see Holy Bull, Louis Quatorze, Skip Away, Pleasant Tap, and Gorgeous among others there.

PurplePower 02-13-2004 04:58 PM

I love going to New Orleans for a day at The Fairgrounds. My day includes visiting with my son in Barn 46 then going to grandstand for a Gumbo lunch. Cash some tickets then out to Mulate's for dinner and dancing followed by a stroll down Bourbon street. The day ends with beignets and cafe' ole' at Cafe DuMond.

Blind Pursuit 02-13-2004 07:27 PM

I'm sure Keeneland, Del Mar, etc. are great places, and everybody loves Saratoga, but I voted for Monmouth Park, the "world's nicest racetrack." Not the best, not the most beautiful, not the most storied, just nice. Picnic tables by the snack bar at the paddock = horse heaven.

Although......Tom's got me thinking a Fort Erie road trip. Now there's one I wouldn'a thought of!

wonder what'll happen to Monmouth Park when Magna gets their hands on it.

Derek2U 02-13-2004 07:33 PM

Yea Monmouth Park
I love MTH PARK .... its just friendly great & i'll be going there a lot
this season. My parents have a house in Belmar ... and I also
love Belmar but since i'm married i wont b going 2 the Tropical pUB
HEHE .. it was my fav raunch bar in my single days. And Bar A.

pmd62ndst 02-13-2004 07:42 PM

Do nights count?
I've had some crazy moments at Hollywood Park on Friday nights. I have a bad habit of ditching the stands after my Pick 6 ticket turns worthless, taking a few shots with my buddies who don't normally go to the track and diving straight onto the dance floor. You forget that you're actually at the track until the races are over and they're kicking you out.

Thomason 02-16-2004 09:52 PM

Favorite track to spend the day
Keeneland. Saw my first race there on the last Saturday of the fall meet October 1974. I've been back many times. The Bluegrass is a special place.

jack300s 02-16-2004 11:20 PM

My favorite is Del mar with Churchill a close second. I haven't had the chance to visit Keeneland or Saratoga yet. Hope to in he near future.

BTW, theres a little track north of San Francisco in Santa Rosa that hosts the Sonoma County Fair every summer. Great crowds that pack the place, great food and great wine. Its more of a party than a day at the races with the regular race track crowd. We always make it a annual summer trip.


JimG 02-17-2004 12:18 PM

Thanks to all who voted. While I tried for a good mix of tracks, I see the "other" category is winning.

It is also interesting to note that nobody voted for Gulfstream Park. I can only guess Karl did not vote or Calder is his favorite track..LOL

The way Beyer used to talk about Gulfstream in his book, I thought it would get action. Funny, I threw in Monmouth as an afterthought, and it got alot of support.


rastajenk 12-14-2005 04:02 AM

My "other" is River Downs. Beautiful setting, relaxed atsmosphere, good times.

GaryG 12-14-2005 06:21 AM

The first time I saw the new Arlington I thought it was the cleanest place I had ever seen....I was there for the BC and the crowd was less than on Fathers Day. I guess that is their big day.

Valuist 12-14-2005 10:47 AM

It was about 35 to 40 degrees that day (BC day 2002) and Arlington is basically designed as a summer track; lots of seating outside. I'm less than 5 miles away but I stayed home and watched on TV.

karlskorner 12-14-2005 11:50 AM

Forty years ago I spent time at the NY/NJ tracks mentioned above, they were "dumps" then and probabley haven't changed. When Mr. Stronach finishes GP, this whole survey will change. Heading out to CRC, weather is 80 degrees, 7 miles south and I am in the land of milk and honey.

ratpack 12-14-2005 11:56 AM

I love Santa Anita but I go there all the time so I did not vote for it.

I voted for Monmouth Park because I grew up in Asbury Park and I don't get back there that often any longer.

My biggest complaint is that they stopped serving corn on the cob in Aug.

JustRalph 12-14-2005 04:56 PM

Been to Hollywood, Del Mar and Beulah. Went to Sam Houston last month and really liked the facility. Clean, good food and not pricey at all. The Jockey club was great. I think if given the choice..........Sammy would be the place........

cnollfan 12-14-2005 07:42 PM

I like Canterbury, aside from the fact that I can probably keep up with some of the horses. It's got a great balance of a little bit of everything -- nice outside seating, nice inside seating, nice walking ring, good simulcasting area.

Zman179 12-14-2005 09:06 PM

My choice wasn't listed on the poll.

I wanted to vote for "any."

mainardi 12-15-2005 12:45 AM

That Ol' West Coast Bias...
Sorry to say, but here in LA-LA land, it's always such a tough call between SA and Dmr... but I went with Santa Anita because my daughter LOVES the carved turkey sandwiches (and the pickles too :) ), and the fact that I get free clubhouse passes about once a month.

My second vote would go to Del Mar, but for entirely different reasons! ;) I drive to downtown LA (about 30 minutes) and catch the train to Solana Beach, where Del Mar provides FREE shuttles on double-decker English buses. The view -- of both the ocean and the bikini-clad bodies -- is OUTSTANDING. My bartender connection means that I drink all day for the price of a single beer, and then I have the two-hour train ride home to get my wits about me!!! And when I used to do track-sponsored seminars, they pretty much took care of me (except for the beer :( ). Hmmm, maybe I should change my vote!!!

toetoe 12-15-2005 01:29 AM


My sentiments almost exactly. I prefer SA because DMR gets to be too much on weekends and holidays. I took the DMR shuttle bus once, and a group of 20-somethings got on, with beers all around. When they gave me an imported beer, I just HAD to fall off the wagon for a day. Delightful.

NY BRED 12-15-2005 04:00 AM

favorite tracks
as far as comfort both saratoga and monmouth offer old world charm
unlike the cold concrete structures such as club med, aqu or calder.

for racing, though,no track can truly matchup to saratoga racing
with its competitive and classy fields, and now, at least one stake race
per day.

best time to visit sar: 7am-9am while thoroughbreds work out with
commentary by track hosts.

for those interested, sar does offer backstretch tours including
visits to certain barns, interviews with jockeys when possible

oh yes, if visiting, be sure to bring an umbrella if you intend to
stay for a week or more,as rainstorms there are generally
unlike anything you've ever experienced

Niko 12-15-2005 09:59 PM

Tracks I've been to Arlington, LoneStar, Canterbury, Santa Anita, DelMar, Churchill (only a couple derbies).

Arlingtons a really nice track but I think they have the worst tellers of everyone. They're slow and have an attitude. Breeders Cup 2002 was brutal (well, just pretty bad) and I'll never go back there for that. Weather didn't help

I enjoy my little Canterbury. Many contests, great customer service, competitive & fun races when it's live, REASONABLE Prices-which eliminates DelMar and they make it fun for my non-racing fans who'll come out for some live racing during the summer.

Santa Anita has a great back drop

Bobby 12-15-2005 10:08 PM

OP by far.

BEen to LAD, DED, FG, EVD.

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