I haven't been getting down to Hawthorne much in recent years, partly because I've been out-of-state so much, and partly because the traffic on the I-55 has grown so atrocious, but mostly because there's hardly anyone there anymore. However, on a recent Spring Saturday I was kinda out southwest of Chicago for morning golf anyhow, and decided to stop by Haw for the 3:00 pm card on the way home. And I was surprised, very surprised, at what a nice crowd had showed up.
The 2019 McChump ??/365 Racing Tour
I had researched this Alberta racing weekend fairly well, I had thought, including checking in at the Horse Racing Alberta website to see what was Saturday post time at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge, aka Whoop-up Downs. 12:00 it said. What the heck? That's awful early. But I was determined to make it, so there I was early Saturday morning bombing north toward the border on I-15 at 80 mph in a howling Montana wind with very limited visibility due to forest fire smoke coming south from way northern Alberta, in a crappy little Nissan Versa rent-a-Chumpmobile that refused to maintain a straight line under any circumstances. Thankfully the Canadian border guard gave me zero problems. "What are you doing in Canada?" "Going to the horse races." "Which horse races?" "Lethbridge, and then Edmonton." "Okay, have a good time." Whew. No delay there. I was going to make it in time.
Stopped by the former Alberta Downs now "The Track on 2" that's out in the middle of nowhere between Calgary and Edmonton. Purpose: Just to take some pictures of a track that briefly tried to run some thoroughbred races on turf and to say I saw it, since I never made it for their few days of thoroughbred racing that were generally canceled anyhow. Wasn't running any live races today, either, but there were two guys playing simulcasts, and a few people eating late breakfast in the cafe. It was, to say the least, quiet.
This was my real destination for the Alberta trip, North America's newest racetrack "Century Mile", opened just in May of 2019, located conveniently just off highway 2 tucked out in front of the Edmonton airport south of town, so you never even had to drive in Edmonton traffic. Nice. They had made a big deal out of the new mile track, which (with the demise of Kamloops, and no more tbreds at Alberta Downs) is supposedly the only one in Canada west of probably Woodbine or Ft. Erie. On this day they proceeded to run every single race on the card at 6f. But in defense of that shiny new mile track, they were just one turn 6f races. So that's something.
Just some photos for now.
Stopped in for a visit on a drive through the Twin Cities, and it was an unfortunate choice of visit dates as it was Fireworks Night, the 3rd of July. The place was jam packed, and very uncomfortable. Not really a decent place to sit anywhere in the plant, overcroded apron gommed up with 1,000,000 lawn chairs, and various bars closed for private parties. Worst of all, the Leinie Lodge on the first floor is GONE!
But this is still a great racetrack, and we had a good time. Just pictures.
This was the year the County replaced the old falling down grandstand, and in its place they put up this kinda spindly aluminum thing. Well, kinda, as everything wasn't done yet. But dates are dates, the Fair comes up when it comes up, and the Turf Club did what it could with the hand it was dealt to put on the big two weekend 2019 race meet.