The world of horse racing isn’t completely new to me – I did write an article for Trot Magazine about my experience at the races as a “first timer” back in 2013 after attending one night at the Woodbine track – but it is still certainly new enough that I don’t feel as though I have any true understanding of how to bet like the pros.
This summer, I plan to change that.
Last weekend I was able to attend the Pepsi North American Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was an eye opening experience about just how passionate the horse racing community really is.
Throughout the summer, I will be attending a couple more events, where I plan to fully immerse myself in the language of betting – and maybe win some coin to take home.
Since the NA Cup (as the locals call it) was my first time visiting Mohawk, the first thing I did was explore the building to get my bearings. It’s a large venue, and lucky for us it was a beautiful day outside.
With seating available inside and out, along with reserved seating in the dining area – there’s not a bad view in the place. While this was easily one of the busiest days of the year at the track, there was enough room to accommodate the large demand of the crowd. Since these events are not ticketed, anyone can show up and place a bet – so I was wondering if it would end up being ‘oversold’ so to speak – but that wasn’t a problem. It was very busy, but not so packed you couldn’t move or get a seat so long as you took some time to check various areas and find some open chairs.
The thing I enjoyed most about visiting Milton for the first time, was just how friendly everyone was – and how cheap the food and drinks were. I think, after 11 years in Toronto, I have come to expect to pay $8 a drink and deal with rude, unhappy people at events this large. It was refreshing to stand in line with people willing to chat with you, or to accidentally bump into people, who, instead of giving you an angry look – chipperly ask you where you got your delicious looking ($3.50!!) chili cheese fries.
Once I got past my pure joy at the affordable and deliciously fatty food and drink options, I had to get down to the track and watch those horses do their thing.
It is unlike anything you’ll ever experience to watch a crowd this large cheer and sigh and cry out for their horse, all within the span of a minute. Some end up incredibly happy and full of cheers, while others are devastated that the horse they just bet a big chunk of their savings on lost. It’s an adrenaline rush much like riding a roller coaster.
My visit this time was cut short due to prior NXNE obligations, so I’m looking forward to next time – when I will properly be able to bet and get invested in a horse.
There’s also something cool in this for you this summer, should you be interested in winning some extra cash. We are a selfie obsessed culture – but have you ever taken a selfie at the races? Well, your challenge this summer is to take one right in front of the track, tweet it out using the hashtag #OffToTheRaces (and mention @MohawkRacing) and you could win $1000 – the most money you’ll ever get for taking a selfie, probably.
This post was created in partnership with Mohawk Racetrack.