Monday, July 14, 2008

I see your vision mama,
I put my money on the long shots

On Friday afternoon my brother and my dad and I took the LIRR deep into Queens for a day at Belmont, with refreshments and 6-foot subs courtesy of the FDNY Engine 3, Ladder 12.

I came close a few times but in the end I didn't win anything. After playing it safe for the first two races and coming away with nothing, I decided to go for the longest of the long shots the rest of the time, just because, why not. That didn't pay off either. No matter, it was fun as heck.

The guys from my brother's firehouse brought these huge coolers full of beer and staked a place out in the backyard, where the recreational race fans all hang out between races.

The people-watching is amazing. This group of fans was particularly fun to talk to—they were having a grand old time hanging out in the yard and speculating on the ponies.

The super hardcore bettors often stay inside, studying their racing forms like their lives depend on it. They don't even watch the races half the time. You can bet as little as a dime so things get a little dire.

This was the most interesting race. One of the horses scratched before the race, because as he was walking onto the track he went nuts, bucked his rider and took off. If you click to enlarge, you can see that another horse lost its jockey on the other side of the track, and finished second.

The facilities are super old school—no fancy remodeling needed, thank you.

There are posters of all the great horses and trainers lining the walls.

I liked watching the people who work there. I bet these three groundskeepers have an interesting time, walking around filling divots and shooting the shit. I'm sure it doesn't pay well or anything but there are worse jobs out there, for sure.

When we left, we climbed up on the roof of the train station and walked around.

Even having done it many times, riding the train is always exciting to me. Improving and expanding the railways should be a top priority right now, but is unfortunately, and predictably, running into all kinds of complications.

We had our own complications leaving the track, when we realized we were about three hours early for the next train—so we bussed it to the very end of the F line in Jamaica, and rode the subway all the way back.

Being that far out in any of the boroughs makes you realize how gigantic New York City is. It still blows me away—the size and the density.

I'll be back at Belmont as soon as possible.

1 comment:

JMW said...

I'm happy to tag along to Belmont any time you want/need company.

Nice photos...