Two times I've visited Sam Houston now, and two times I've stood in their Winner's Circle, as one of my horses took home the gold. I think I kind of like it there. But the admission is still $3.00, and parking $2.00, and perhaps not surprisingly, there was a teeny little crowd in this great big park on a beautiful Sunday evening.
The 2000 McChump ??/365 Racing Tour
"The Quest for 100"
44 Exciting Tracks! 19 Thrilling Stories! (so far)
Hey! You are not supposed to be freezing your cheeks when you visit New Orleans! This cannot be, chump! But despite the cold, wind, and a little drizzle, and okay maybe it was busy snowing 8" in Chicago at the time, it was an excellent weekend getaway: Fair Grounds by day, and the French Quarter by night.
Back in November, after returning from Louisiana Downs, the McChump Tour travel committee looked over the likely upcoming travel schedule between the final meeting of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club at HAW in mid-December, and Opening Day of horse racing at the Chicago Motor Speedway on the first weekend of March. Except for a weekend at Hollywood Park and Los Al, two trips to Sam Houston, an afternoon at Manor Downs outside Austin, and a weekend in New Orleans sucking down crawfish etoufee and visiting FG, it looked light. Really light.
When I entered Chicago's newly remodelled track in the summer of 1998, I was pleasantly surprised by the many improvements that had been made to enhance the on-track experience for the patrons of live racing. Unfortunately, when I entered Chicago's other newly remodelled track this past weekend, the impression was more one of disappointment and dismay. The overall feeling is one of a huge facility catering to simulcast patrons, with a track out front as an excuse to hold a simulcast license. And the live patron be damned. Much the same feeling I got at Delaware Park about the casino. Except that park is attractive.
Plan Your Vacation NOW!
When we left the McChump Tour on Lake Shore Drive coming home from Sportsman's at the Speedway in our last installment, the question of the day that lingered from a racetrack acquaintance was "Have you ever seen anything worse than this?", followed by a vow to spend the Spring finding out. What better place to start looking, I reasoned, than among the mid-Atlantic tracks: the tired, the poor, the hungry, the huddled masses yearning to have slots. Or at least yearning to cut out live racing altogether and just offer simulcasts.
It's that time of year again - The Big Co. just absolutely FORCING me to attend the conference at the beautiful seaside Biltmore resort just south of Santa Barbara. Dang! But so as not to make it a total loss, I determined to go out a bit early, and stay a bit late, and make something out of the trip. Being the good corporate citizen I am, I did a little searching of airfares and found that if I flew round trip to Phoenix, and then got a cheap shuttle to Burbank, it was way way cheaper than a round trip to Santa Barbara. Isn't that conveeeenient?
Saturday, just prior to the Lone Star Derby, the music swelled over the PA as announcer Michael Wrona started in on an intro to an exciting event about to transpire and directed our eyes to the sky. Skydivers were about to descend on the park.
The plane circled and buzzed several times as the patrons craned their necks, and the music built to a crescendo. "I'm getting whiplash!", one racegoer was heard to exclaim.
Right after I was involved in an Internet discussion about why people actually go to the track and I was on the side of "lots go for fun" while others held firm for "people don't go for any reason but to gamble", I all of a sudden realized what they meant when I came down with a case of the Gamblin' Fever, real bad. Real bad, squirming around like an Oktoberfest patron waiting in a long line outside a port-a-potty. I needed to go a-gamblin'.
-- Saturday, June 10, breakfast time, Denny's by the Boise airport
Always you are learning something on this Tour. This morning the Boise newspaper has interesting news items. For instance, the White Sox beat the Cubs. And also for instance, there is an important new webcam out there, CornCam, where in your spare time at the office you can watch corn grow. "Cheer as the mighty cornstalks battle wind, hail, and rainstorms". Usually cornstalks are underdogs. I'm a sucker for underdogs. I'll be rootin' for that corn. Most definitely I will have to be checking out CornCam when I get home.
Another thing learned: This Denny's has the worst service of any Denny's in the world. Probably. Don't stop here.
Well, we did go to the races, but I apparently didn't get any pictues of that. So this picture of the Alamo will have to do.