Recently, good friend Patrick over at Handride (previously known as Pulling Hair & Betting Horses, and when he actually changed the name of his blog, I don't know because I wasn't paying attention), described a rather unsettling scenario: He was the recipient of rude behavior at the racetrack. Although Patrick expertly handled the situation, I was empowered to seek advice from a professional etiquette authority. Since Miss Manners offers advice for everyday etiquette, I was pleased to discover that her long lost sister’s friend’s nephew’s roommate’s mother knows somebody who is an authority in racetrack etiquette. And I will happily share one of her advice columns with you, in the hopes that it will provide [un]necessary etiquette information.
Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: A friend of mine recently got into a fight on Haskell Day. He had generously allowed an older gentleman to sit at his table to rest for a while and instead of being grateful, he sneered at my friend. What could explain such rude and petty behavior?
Gentle Horseplayer: How most unfortunate that your gracious friend had to endure such negative facial expressions. One can certainly attribute this kind of behavior to personal frustration of not arriving at Monmouth Park prior to 10:00 a.m. to ensure that a seat was secured, or perhaps the gentleman was unable to locate a particular and quite possibly "lucky" Korea hat that morning. However, Ms. Equine Etiquette surmises that the explanation that he was from New Jersey is the most logical conclusion.
Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: Help me! I’m so frustrated! Last weekend, I got shut out of three different races because the bozo in front of me spent 5 minutes wheeling a variety of dime superfectas! I told the guy to "speed it up" but he just ignored me. What’s the best way to handle this in the future?
Gentle Horseplayer: One can understand your exasperation regarding the inability to place a wager at post time. Many individuals find it most desirable to place a bet as horses are being loaded into the gate. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to you if you placed your wager a minute or two earlier. It would also be prudent for you not to stand in line behind the so-called "bozo" because clearly he is from New Jersey.
Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: I am a woman and I enjoy going to the track by myself. A few weeks ago, some drunken lout sitting at the bar made some unwelcome advances. I ended up leaving earlier than planned. Suggestions?
Gentle Horseplayer: The racetrack is a wonderful opportunity for horse racing enthusiasts. One can enjoy an afternoon or evening of racing and wagering, included are marvelous possibilities for social interaction, if so desired. However, one cannot dismiss the occasional village idiot or rude patron that makes an appearance. It’s important to remember that racetracks have no desire to serve as roadhouses however no horseplayer, woman or man, should have to suffer boorish behavior from these types of individuals. If extricating yourself from buffoons proves difficult, by all means contact security.
Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: Steven Crist of the Daily Racing Form once claimed there are dreadful horse racing blogs. I think that’s a pretty arrogant opinion and I think Steven Crist deserves a wedgie. And he could use a good barber. What do you think? Thanks!
Gentle Horseplayer: Steven Crist is an exceptional and experienced turf writer, hairstyle not withstanding. However, regardless of whether one thinks that a particular blog is wonderful or whether it is atrocious depends on the appetite of the reader. Many individuals prefer blogs that feature racing information or wagering strategies and would find a blog that scribes equine haikus every two minutes tedious and uninspiring. Ms. Equine Etiquette finds it most ridiculous that there are journalists, writers, and bloggers that are attempting to create a gated community on the internet.