Due to terrible, dangerous weather sweeping through the northeast, racetracks cancel their programs. Powers that be must think safety first, concerning equines and humans performing and those that might venture into the tempest to wager.
Where are the people in this day and age that would take on the snow, sleet, rain or dark of night in a journey to a racetrack to wager on horses battling on the dirt or limestone? Not even racing fans that have taken the postman’s oath to deliver mail in atmospheric turmoil take the road to the track when storms threaten to cripple neighborhoods. That breed, my friends, is extinct. Racetracks depend on many outside sources for wagering to make money, and rightfully so, because the racetrack visitor is not only rare, he or she won’t confront inclement weather just to experience the live product.
I recall there was an ilk undisturbed by the weather when it was time to get to the track. Horrendous weather to this group meant only one thing: leave earlier to get there. After all, you could miss the Daily Double.
Sailing through the developing pools of water on the Southern State Parkway en route to Roosevelt Raceway was a mere glitch in the route for those of us bent on seeking refuge from a mad world by drying beneath the confines of a grandstand roof while trotters and pacers sloshed around four turns with our money riding on their noses.
Bone-biting cold, winds that make big rigs rock, rain that falls like curtains on a theater stage—all of these villains of travel used to mean nothing to most pari-mutuel players as long as the track was open for business.
Once I was practically stranded in Victoria, on the other side of the Boundary Pass and across the Haro Strait. This is an area used to vicious rainfall and even locals slow down when the clouds burst open. But when a friend and I learned during a hearty storm that Sandown Park’s Thoroughbred-racing program was the only pari-mutuel facility around, no less open regardless of the weather, we didn’t think twice about the opportunity to spend a soggy day at a racetrack.
It was testimony to the die hard pari-mutuel player that doesn’t blink about taking on strange horses and horsemen, a sinking surface, clothing soaked to the skin and all other elements foreign to experience. In the end, a horse race is a horse race no matter the territory, the weather nor the thought of a return trip that might be even more treacherous than the one getting to the destination.
We actually won a few races in a racing theater not unlike one that looked like it was placed amid the scary grounds of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World. However, such a place would attract only creatures bound for extinction.
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