Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, IL, Spring, 2003

Well, since I made such a big deal out of all the destruction, mayhem, and price gouging that attended the 2002 BC at AP, it's only fair to report what has been done to restore the place to a semblance of normality since then. (That the temp seating and tents are gone is a given.)

Trees: No trees replanted on either turn. Still a nice clear eastern view of the Red Rooster Pantry across Wilke Road, and of the west parking lot. However, they did a good job of putting some trees back in the picnic area, at least the closest part of it to the apron.

Picnic area: The whole picnic area has been scrunched up closer to the apron, with the wagering tent, concessions, and the music stage much closer to the apron than they used to be. Probably a good idea - there were hardly enough people in that big picnic area to fill the thing up any day I witnessed last year. (A big change from when I started going out there in 1994, I might add.) There's also a permanent new little terrace over the left end of the apron as part of the picnic area, which may or may not be a BC construction holdover, I don't remember. It's actually pretty nice. No sign of the late lamented petting zoo, but there were some earth moving vehicles down there doing something one Thursday I was out. Possibly excavating a big pit to hold the baby camel of which McChump #2 is so inordinately fond?

Admission: Why, this is actually going up again this year, from $5 to $6! 'Bout dat! I guess that's the price of going to a facility that has hosted a BC. (However if you are a Twin Spires member you can still get in for a mere $4.75, same as last year.)

Concession prices: Sadly, the beer prices were not restored to their former low, low levels after the gouging of BC weekend. The new permanent price for a 16oz plastic bottle of MGD is $5, up from $4.75. (Coincidentally, no more quarter for a cheap tip to the bartender. Each and every one of them will hand you back 5 ones as change from a $10, hint hint. One guy even has neatly pre-packed wads of ones.) There's a new "big" draft beer at the bars - $5.25. Ripoff. The food prices do not seem to have suffered much, at least the few things I have tried so far.

It's still a very nice, pretty track though. Can't get away from that.