Last Thursday morning, I took a trip away from home - away from the children, husband, dogs, unending piles of laundry, bag boys at the grocery store with an attitude - all by myself. Entirely a self-serving pleasure and a strong desire for spiritual rebirth. Not a whole lot different than that of Ponce de Leon in 1513. Except for when he landed in Florida, there wasn't a racetrack.
I took very thorough notes over the weekend. Pages and pages. And I have come to the conclusion that nobody really wants to read the story of the flight attendant dumping coffee on my lap, or the German gentleman sitting next to me who has logged over three million frequent flyer miles selling dental implants, caps, bridges, and "other oral devices", whatever "other oral devices" might actually be and would they be seen in a family-friendly type television show.
Gulfstream Park. A place where I rubbed elbows with Nick Zito. I tripped over Jeremy Rose. I admired Todd Pletcher's hair - and in response to recent musings from John, Todd Pletcher's hair has to stay perfect because he is constantly having his picture taken in the Winner's Circle. I had a few beers. I got a little sunburned. I picked a few winners. I picked a lot of losers. I wandered and roamed every accessible inch of the new facility. And I formed an opinion about the new Gulfstream Park.
When I say big, I don't mean big. I mean behemoth big. I mean mastodon stomping on the caveman in that very funny FedEx commercial big.
Going to Gulfstream requires a substantial amount of walking, which is usually counterproductive to my objective, i.e., being lazy. It's a relatively long distance for Joe and/or Josie Horseplayer to observe the horses in the walking ring - forget the paddock - and walk through the breezeway of the grandstand and out to the apron and to the rail to continue observing the horses in the post parade. Maybe the original designers of this element deemed it unnecessary for convenient crowd flow because they felt that most of the clientele were, how shall I say, not as nimble as they used to be.
There has been grumblings about the fountain in the walking ring. Looks nice. It appears to be some sort of aesthetic quality to the facility. Whatever.
I strolled through the crowd and sought out opinions. A couple from New Jersey come to Gulfstream every year. Mrs. New Jersey said, "It's nice if you don't want to see the horses." The statement is very plausible, as there are few vantage points to actually watch live racing. Where there were once 35,720,432 seats in the old grandstand, there appears to be a mere 900 or so. Monitors are accessible everywhere. But I didn't fly to Florida to watch races on the simulcast screen.
Of note, Mr. New Jersey declared that I had to make a trip to Monmouth Park. He declared that it is "the most beautiful track."
"Hah!" I said, "Lone Star Park is gorgeous!"
"Monmouth," he countered.
Whew. Post time for Race 10, an allowance 1 mile turf. I liked the Kiaran McLaughlin trained horse, Forecourt (Ire), but the Frankel horse, Royal Stamp, who's been off for a year, made me a little jittery. Should've have listened to my jitters.
Up next: Tickets, Ten Palms, and the One Turn Mile