A Day At The Races

Without the Marx Brothers, sadly, but still a fun day, if a little too hot. Ellen’s friend Elise lives quite close to Monmouth Racetrack, up the Jersey coast from us about an hour and a half drive, and yesterday we went up to visit her and spend a day at the track. This is our second visit to Monmouth, we went one Saturday last year as well. Ellen loves all sorts of animals, and horses are high on her list. She did a fair amount of riding, and I did some with her when we first met. Later she owned a riding horse for about a year. We both enjoy reading horse stories, including racing stories. Some of my favorites when I was a kid were by author Walter Farley. So, we follow racing a little, mainly watching big events on TV, and last year decided to go see some live ones. Our enthusiasm was dampened this year by the tragedy of Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby, which we decided NOT to watch after hearing about it on the news (we had recorded it), and the Belmont Stakes attempt by Big Brown to take the Triple Crown of U.S. racing was also a disappointment when he finished last, but we were still up for a day at the races ourselves this year.

Monmouth Racetrack is a beautiful old course. A little old-fashioned, but we like that. The paddock area, where the riders mount their horses is shown above. We got there a little late and just missed the first race, but watched and bet on the rest. I was on a roll early and picked the winner of races 2 to 4, though none paid very much. The jockey on all three was Joe Bravo, seen here on Slapped Silly, his ride in the second race:

It’s a tough and dangerous job, but these guys make it look easy. Bravo rode in nine of the day’s ten races, and always looked calm and confident, despite the heat and variety of mounts.

We did win a few other small Exacta boxed bets, but none paid very much, and by the end of the day were down about twenty dollars. Not a problem, it was good entertainment for the money. The featured race of the day was race 9, the $150,000 Eatontown Stakes. One very interesting entrant was Medley, owned and bred by Her Majesty, the Queen of England! I couldn’t resist that bet, but the horse came in last, with first place taken by “Social Queen”. Guess society overruled royalty in that one. We were thinking the Queen would not be amused.

Nice to see Elise, and a good afternoon followed by a fine dinner at the beach. We made plans to do it again next year.

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