Thursday, March 08, 2007

Plenty of Good Seats are Still Available

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. [Jane Austen, Mansfield Park]

It is unknown by this writer as to whether or not Jane Austen was a fan of horse racing. However, I can say with almost 95% certainty that she probably never went to Gulfstream Park, considering she died in 1817. But that is not important. What is important that even way back then, when racing fans used fancy words like "verdure" when they referred to the turf course, they understood the importance of the simple act of sitting.

A few years ago, Gulfstream Park ownership razed a grandstand that had 224,792 seats and replaced it with a beautiful pristine grandstand that had 6. The lack of seats along the apron, or The Rail as it is titled in the facility guide, usually leads to mild altercations between a number of racing fans - many of whom are in their Golden Years - who want to sit down and enjoy the races. It can be quite disconcerting to the observer to see these older individuals poke each other with their canes in order to score a seat.

Needless to say, Gulfstream Park management addressed this issue. One can speculate that the conversation, and please note that these individuals are fictitious, went something like this:

Louis: Sir, many people have complained that we have little to no free seating available here at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino.
Frank: What are you talking about? We have plenty of free seats.
Louis: We do?
Frank: Yes. At the slot machines.
Louis: But there are those people out there ... those who come here to actually watch the horse races. And those people would like to be able to sit down.
Frank: Our company has a $400 million deficit. We can't afford to provide free seating for those people.
Louis: I think we can work something out. My cousin, Mort, over in Dania Beach has a couple connections and we should be able to put together some seating in the parking area north of the grandstand.
Frank: Affordable?
Louis: Oh, yeah. And classy, too.

Please be advised to get there early. Handicap access is unavailable. Canes, walkers, and portable oxygen tanks are strongly discouraged. Please note that the bathrooms are not easily accessible and the nearest mutuel clerk is at Calder Race Course.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the races.

1 comment:

Tote Board Brad said...

yes, those free seats in those temperary bleachers are awlful. And I didn't see anyone sitting in them either. I didnt' see hardly anyone sitting in the ~900 or so $5 seats in the "Grandstand" either.

There's no such thing as free seats at any cali track that I know of, b/c you have to pay for admission, then for decent seats you have to pay again for those. Here, we have to pay for parking, too. So, I have little sympathy for the Floriday fans that complain of these things. In my opinion, Gulfstream is well designed for the kind of horseplayer I am on all but the biggest days. The place is a bust for big days when thirty thousand people want to come and watch the races, though. It can't reasonably accomodate that many people wanting to watch life racing.