Sunday, October 7, 2012

Portland Meadows

Some of my readers may know that Oregon banned greyhound racing a few years back. However, we do still have a horse racing track in Portland called Portland Meadows. I have never had a chance to see live racing, and really wanted to give it a try. So, the dogs went and spent the weekend with my mom while I worked Saturday and then took Sunday for a day at the track. I went with a fellow flyball person who has a history in the horse world, and we had a total blast!

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Arriving in the lobby of Portland Meadows, there were a bunch of paintings and photographs on the walls of famous horses, both at this track and Oregon bred horses winning elsewhere.

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I spent a bit of time poking around the lobby inspecting the pictures while waiting for Nicole to arrive. She got there just in time for us to go see the horses for Race 1 in the saddling paddock. We walked around, saw the horses, then headed outside to watch the race. Some kids next to us told us that number 8 was going to win.
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While in at the paddock (which is indoors at this track due to the amount of rain we get in the fall), me and Nicole were commenting how small 8 was, so we just smiled and nodded. But the kids not only were right, and Foxy (as they called the 8 horse) not only won, but turned out to be owned by their family.

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Foxy, number 8, pulled ahead of the rest of the pack for a win in Race 1

We went and got some food, drinks, checked out the horses, and watched another couple of races.

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I had made the decision even before heading to the track that I would bet on a few of the races, but that my total limit to spend at the track was $20 including food, drinks, and betting. If I won anything, I could spend it if I felt like it. That way, I knew I wouldn't go too overboard. A minimum bet is $2, so I figured I could bet on a few races easily enough.

We bet on horse 7 in race four, because he was shiny. Turned out not to be the winning stroke of luck, because we lost. Then, me and Nicole decided we probably needed to get a program so we could bet based on something other than purely the horse's looks.

In race five, we were a bit better informed. I bet on #5 to win, while Nicole bet on #4 to win, with the agreement that since we both liked both horses, we would each bet on one and split the winnings.

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Horse #4, Legendary Madame, pulled through for us and caught us a win. Since I was out of cash, its a good thing, too, because otherwise my betting would have been done for the day!

In the next race, the program had #5 listed as the favorite. Taking a look at the stats, I would have chosen him for my bet, but when we actually went in and looked at the horses, Enterprise Zone, horse #4, caught my eye. He was a total fireball, rared up and ready to go. He was obviously eager to get out and run, and every other horse was a bit leery of him when walking by in the paddock. His jockey had no wins listed in the program. But I decided why not, the betting was just for fun, and I really didn't expect to or plan to win anything. So I put my $2 to win on them.

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During the post parade, one of the owners was walking by where I had stationed myself (at the best vantage point for pictures) and asked who my pick was. I told him #4, and when asked why, because every other horse on the field was scared of him! Turns out, he was Enterprise Zone's owner, and told me that if he won, I needed to come be in the Winner's Circle photo. I just laughed and said okay, as #4 was, at the point, listed with some of the longest odds of any horse in the race.

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Wouldn't you know he pulled it off though? That little guy sure knew his business, and his jockey really helped bring him home in a great run. And sure enough, his owner told me and Nicole that we needed to get up in the Winner's Circle with him and his family and the horse. So, somewhere out there, we are in that picture, and were on national TV at the same time!

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The rest of the races were still a lot of fun, and both me and Nicole both got another payout ticket (on two different races), but they were both in the $4 range instead of the $20 payout I got on that little guy above. I came out of it even, with my wins offsetting the money I spent on food and the bets, which was more than I even hoped for.

Overall it was a great, really fun day.  I'm hoping I get a chance to go out there at least one more time (if not more!) before the fall season closes in December. It was great to see all of the horses and how excited they were to run. A lot of them reminded me and Nicole of our dogs lining up for flyball, all business, trembling and twitching, ready to get out there and run, and sometimes causing some problems in their excitement and single mindedness!

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  1. Wow, that sounds like fun!! You got some great shots too!! Why did they get rid of greyhound racing but not horse racing? I dont know of any greyhound racing here in SC but it must be close. Because there is a adoption greyhound group here that rehomes the dogs after they leave the track.

  2. We actually still have a very active greyhound adoption group in this area still as well, even though the greyhounds now get shipped down to Florida to race. When they retire, the Oregon-bred dogs return to Oregon to be adopted.

  3. Great pictures! Horse racing is incredible to watch, definitely more spectacular than the dog races. The best was the wiener dog races though, that was hilarious!

  4. I am totally in love with race horses, and have been since I read Walter Farley's The Black Stallion when I was 6. I'd love to spend a day at the races like that! Congrats on your good eye.

  5. You got some great photos! I went to Portland Meadows a while ago and watched the horses warm up on the track and it was fun listening to the riders chat with each other. Some time I hope to get out there to watch them race :-)

  6. Hi Y'all!

    Just hoppin' by to say "hi" .

    Humans have been busy doing and going, plus computer "malfunctions" at most inopportune times. I've really been missin' y'all! But I am havin' new adventures to relate to y'all!

    Yep, you're right about those horses singlemindedness to race! And they hurt a lot worse if they step on you in their excitement...just ask my Humans.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  7. Very awesome. My mommy is very into horses, and while horse racing is cool, she cannot condone it. They are so mean to them!


  8. Oh wow! What a great experience for your first time at the races! I can't believe you got to be up there in the winner's circle with the family. Cool! We have a track here in Woodstock and on the few occasions we do go my bets are always the same $2 and I still pick my horses the way that you picked your first one! LOL!

  9. OMD this looks like a TON of FUN! Just met you thru the card exchange :)

  10. Looks like a lot of fun. Great pictures!

  11. Great photos. I have mixed feelings about horse racing. I want to love it, but think there are some very questionable things about it.