RSS Feed for this Blog
RSS Feed for all TBA Posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Last Hurrah?

I spent my 45th birthday at the Fort today. Yeah, the one in my backyard right across the Peace Bridge. By the way, "45 is the new 35" has been my motto all day long. Our two Canadian TBA bloggers, Jen and CanGamble both featured the Fort in their posts today and they are both terrific reads.

When asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, the answer was a simple one, and a big grin emerged from my face. I had already scouted out that Fort Erie's closing day was smack dab on a certain Tuesday afternoon and the plan was hatched. I was escorted by my pal, G-Money, who had accompanied me to Saratoga for opening day last summer, for a little lunch, a few lagers and some relaxed wagering on the ponies. I had read the two posts above earlier today and the focus that this could be the last day of racing EVER at the Fort started to dawn on me. The 111 year old track is in danger of closing due to recurring losses, with the ownership asking the government for millions in assistance.

Geez, I was just getting to know you! We sat window-side in the upper level Turfside Lounge and enjoyed an awesome lunch, views of all the tracks via simulcast and had two tellers to take our wagers all afternoon long in the warmth of the Lounge. It looked like quite the snowstorm at Philly Park (as the sun shone in Ft. Erie across the bridge from snow city USA). I had never been upstairs in my two previous visits to the Fort this summer and really, really enjoyed the view and the surroundings. The people in the Turfside were hilarious, we had a group of old ladies behind us running a show pool, a couple of old-timers with some horse connections ("get away from the rail you idiot") and some younger fellahs next to us, overall it was just a hoot. I was definitely in my element. To boot, a 2 mile 70 yard marathon named the Tour de Fort, was on the card as the feature race. G and I had never witnessed a race that long and watching it was quite the scene. After the first lap several horses were 35 lengths from the lead and then the calvary charge came in the last two furlongs....great stuff. G-Money was the perfect host and it was just a great way to spend an afternoon in a fun setting.

Handicapping wise, I was in the zone. I'd never had a better day (lucky birthday I guess) at any track before. Hat tip to Keith of Triple Dead Heat, another Canadian blogger, who had tipped me off to trainer Gonzalez whose horse headed up a nice trifecta ticket in the 4th and got things rolling. I cashed a ticket in six of eight races, with the most satisfying being the closing race of the meet where I cashed two nice tickets, walking out with an additional 75 greenbacks. The gent standing next to me at the window was cashing a $1,300 super ticket, and sheepishly admitted to me when the #1 horse scratched, that "the easiest way to change a 1 is to make it a 4 (which happened to go off at 41-1), but don't tell anyone." Not sure who I would tell, but it did generate a belly laugh....sometimes it pays to be lucky. Me, all I could think of was legendary coach John Thompson of Georgetown when his Hoyas finally defeated Syracuse in the last college basketball game held in Manley Field House (before the opening of the Carrier Dome) and his famous line, that "Manley Field House is officially closed!"

I was thinking the same about venerable Fort Erie Race Track, I'm just hoping it's just for the winter and not forever, because that would be a downright shame.


Handride said...

I think you still have my feed in there for "grab this feed" go to HTML search pullinghair highlight the entire webaddress and replace it w/
or if you have a feedburner address replace it w/ taht.

Keith - Triple Dead Heat said...

Sounds like a perfect birthday and a good job handicapping that last race. No favourites in the mix there!

I too hope Fort Erie returns. So much history at the track - home to the second jewel of the Canadian triple crown. It would be a shame for the Fort to close.

It's snowing in Toronto today...a reminder that the meet is soon to come to a close. :>(


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online