Friday, August 22, 2014

And They're Off

Arlington Park Entrance
The entrance
A few weeks ago, the kids and I were invited to Arlington Park.

Having lived in the Chicago suburbs for essentially my whole life, I always knew Arlington existed, but I had never been! The kids had been with my husband before, but I had never been. So when invited, I decided we would go. Which, turns out, was a fabulous decision!

Mister Man watching a race
First a little history. We have family ties to the racetrack. My husband's great grandfather was the head electrician there for over 20 years. His grandmother has stories about being there as a child. She also worked there as a young adult. We have tables in our shed that came from the racetrack. They were given to my husband's grandfather, after as a firefighter he helped fight a fire there.

Hanging out at the table
All of this to say, that there are some strong family ties to the track. And while the family talks about the track on a fairly regular basis, I had yet to actually go there. So it was kind of exciting to be going there for the first time! 

Horse on Parade at Arlington Park
Pre-race Parade
Fridays, the admission price is discounted, and you are allowed to bring your own food in. We did bet a little, but of course, that isn't required. I could have spent 5 hours there, with the two kids, for $12 whole dollars (assuming I brought my own food and didn't place a bet). Definitely, a fun time in my price range!

Horse Crossing Finish Line at Arlington ParkWe found a great little table to hang out at between races. It was close to where they do the pre-race parade. Which was nice because we'd walk over, see the horses, place our bets (a whole 2 dollars on each race. I'm telling you, I'm a big spender!), then go walk by the finish line to see the race. For one race, we went up to the grandstands to see the race. Mister Man liked being up there the best, but the rest of us preferred to be down by the finish.

Horse at Arlington Park
The horses are gorgeous! If I say they are positively majestic, will that sound too cliche? Well, even if it does, they were majestic. Miss M was also very thrilled to see quite a few female jockeys. Okay, okay, me too!

Horses at Gate of Arlington ParkThe start of the race is fun to watch. As they get all the hoses into the gates. Once that last horse is in though, bam, that race starts without hardly a pause! The first few races started at a point very close to were we could stand. The rest started at other spots (because the races are different lengths and some are on the dirt and some on the turf).

Horse Crossing Finish Line at Arlington ParkBut let's be honest. The real excitement is at the end. You can get pretty close to the finish line too. For almost every race, we were down there as close to front and center as you can get. I should specify here, this is for the races on the dirt. The races on the turf were on the inside track, and we didn't have the ability to cross the dirt track to get there!

View from the grandstand
Some of the races were REALLY close. Some weren't. In one race, one horse was disqualified (or something. I'm not going to lie, I didn't really hear what happened) other than at the end of the race 3 horses were first, second, third and 5 minutes later, a different horse was third place.

There were lots of people in derby hats. Some people dressed up. We went in very casually dressed. Which was fine too. I wanted to get a derby hat - some of them are so pretty - but couldn't find one I liked and could afford. I did try a bunch on though and that was fun!

All in all, we had a great afternoon at the racetrack. I'm anxious to get out there again at least once more this racing season (maybe twice if it's in the cards!)

As a side note, while we were at the track, I shot all my photographs in manual. I still don't have down 100%, but I am pretty proud of how a few of my pictures turned out!  

1 comment:

  1. With the exception of the horse and carriages in Center City I've never seen a real live horse up close and I've never petted on.

    The picture of Mr. Man watching the race is excellent. It has a good blurred background, good highlight on the side of his face which makes him stand out, and the shadow on his face and shoulder give great definition.


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