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Kathy Wade's Blog


Why You Should Bring A Friend...Or Two...Or More!

Published: June 3, 2014 9:54 pm ET

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As members of the industry, many of us have been around for a good part of our lives. We were all at that novice stage once, where we were just learning about the sport.

Most of the people who have joined the industry without familial ties have been taught and encouraged by industry members. Whether it be handicapping, the long process from breeding to the 2 year old hitting the track, equipment, drivers, varying track distances, etc…it’s a lot to take in if you are starting from the ground up.

This is why the Bring a Friend National Promotion is so important. We are handing the lines over to you to promote our sport and teach newcomers. It is up to all of us to share our industry with the public and this is an incredible opportunity to do so!


The first time at a racetrack can be very daunting.

There is hustle, there is bustle, and a whole lot of people who seem to know exactly what is going on.

Imagine making your first trip to the racetrack on your own, or with a group of people who had never been before. What would happen?

I arrive at the track and feel great because, hey, parking is free. With lots of spots, parking ends up becoming the least of your concerns. Not having to shell out $5 is always a pleasant surprise.

Inside the grandstand, there are people all moving in a similar direction. Some people stop at a kiosk and are paying for some type of a booklet.

Other people keep on walking...some go outside. Some go on an escalator. Once everyone has filed in, they start to split in different directions. This place is a lot bigger than I expected. There is so much to see at once; where should I go first?

Do I need that booklet? Well, maybe I’ll go outside and see what’s happening.
Outside there are lots of people standing around...many are looking at the booklet. Then there are horses...lots of them...going in both directions. As I walk past a group of people, someone is taking about exact-something and tractors? I overhear a comment on the addition of a Murphy on the 3 in the 5th, the driver change on the 6 in the 9th. My god, is there a race on? Have I missed the start of something?

There’s this large electronic sign inside the track. Numbers are flashing...what do all of those numbers mean? They’re constantly changing with no explanation. Math wasn’t my strong suit, so it’s all a bit daunting. I didn’t come here for a Calculus class, did I?

A couple of minutes pass by and the sound of a bugler plays over the PA System. Then a voice comes on. “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the field for the first race...” the voice continues and there is a parade of horses on the track in numerical order. What do their numbers mean? The voice mentions the horse’s name, the owners name and the jockey’s name. They look awfully big to be jockeys! Why does each number have a colour? Is it going to be like that in every race? What are the names of the jockeys? I wonder who the best jockey is?

These horses go around the track for a few minutes and then the voice comes on again. 1 minute to post time. Get your bets in. Oh yes, my bet.

I look around...there are lines in front of several people behind a counter. I’ve never bet on a horse race before. Well, here goes nothing. I line up. The people around me are pouring over the booklet, talking about boxes. So this is geometry? When I get to the person who is going to help me make my bet, he looks at me and says...yes, what would you like? I would like to make a bet.
How much? Oh, let’s say 5 bucks. Do you want that for win, place or show? Let’s go for win. What horse? Number 5. He presses some buttons on a machine, prints the ticket and I pick it up.

Thank you.

Off I go, to get a good vantage point along the rail...ticket in hand. Maybe I should get one of those booklets...maybe there is something in the booklet that can help me. There’s one that has been cast aside on a table nearby. I pick it up and open it. Race #1. There are so many little numbers and names and stats and it’s so overwhelming...I shut the booklet. I have no idea what any of that means or what I should be looking for.

Then I see a car with some contraption on the back on the far side of the track. The horses are chasing the car. The car speeds up. The horses speed up.
Then about 20 seconds later, the car and the horses are right in front of me! And they are going really fast! The car takes off. The horses start to race.

The voice comes on and gives a play by play of the race. Where is that number 5 horse? I wonder how many laps they have to go. Do I have time to run to the bathroom...?

There he is...I see him now...he’s in the fourth spot. The horses seem to be going faster. It looks like the number 5 isn’t following the other horses anymore and is starting to move around them.

The voice, "with three eighths of a mile to go, that’s Prairie Illusion in front by 2, Foolish Mind is on the outside and watch out for Mia Seelster...she’s really moving"

The crowd is cheering so I cheer too. “Go number 5!” I can’t hear the voice over the roar of the crowd.

And then there they are...I think that pole is the finish line. Only one lap? The horses slow down considerably about 50 metres past that pole.

A few minutes pass and then the #5 horse (my horse!) comes back in front of the grandstand. The voice comes on again and makes an announcement about my winning horse. Am I suppose to go out and meet my horse since I bet on him? There is a group of people who are beside him. Did they bet on him too? Maybe they own him. A photographer takes a picture. The people shake hands with the driver and a girl leads the horse back on the track towards a building that looks like a barn.

I turn to go cash my ticket and it only pays out $13.00 for my $5 investment. But, hey, I picked a winner!!

I open the booklet and turn to the next race...

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