1) Da’ Tara
1A) Cool Coal Man
3) Rachel Alexandra
4) Macho Again
5) It’s a Bird
6) Asiatic Boy
7) Past the Point
It’s interesting to see Asiatic Boy in, since trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had previously indicated he’d be skipping the race if she entered – and what an odd spot for Da’ Tara to pop up in! Rachel Alexandra (pictured, courtesy of NYRA) was installed as the 1/2 morning line favorite (rather unsurprisingly). As it seems I won’t have a chance to get to Saratoga to see her again this time around, I began casting around for interesting places to watch the race – at home? At a local track? Neither really fit in with the family’s weekend activities.
Planning out where to watch the Woodward got me thinking – are there any horse racing bars in the US? We soccer fans complain often enough about the lack of footy-friendly bars, but it’s really not that difficult to find one (although finding one that has good beer and/or isn’t a fake Irish pub is a taller order – but it can be done), regardless of how obscure the friendly you’re hoping to catch might be. Sure, you can go to the Turf Club or OTB, but they tend to be pretty unpleasant (even those with ‘food’) – and good luck bringing a child with you to most. (This spurs a side note to the management of such establishments – if your businesses are so disgusting even fans of the sport don’t want to venture in, you may want to re-evaluate what you are doing.)
There are a few OTB-affiliated bars in New York that are better (e.g. The Playwright, which still doesn’t offer much in the food or family-friendly department), but I can’t think of any equivalent in Philly. I’m told the Whip Tavern shows a few races from time to time, but something in the city itself would be handy. It’s difficult enough that the race will only be on TVG/HRTV, but the lack of any public place to watch makes it even harder to market the sport as a whole – watching a simulcast at Philly Park or at the Turf Club isn’t exactly an appealing option. It seems local sports bars will be busy with ‘college football’ (which mystifies me – I can’t understand the appeal of watching professionals play the sport, much less largely dumber-than-legacy kids who should be studying for their Rocks for Jocks exam) – and I doubt they receive TVG anyway.
It’s true I’ll be TiVoing the race no matter what, but lack of opportunity for a more communal experience on big racing days is a major drawback; it’s hard to convince someone who isn’t already a fan that this is fun when there’s no decent off-track venue to catch a dinnertime sporting event.
But I’m happy to be proven wrong – if you know of a bar that shows racing, post a comment!