January 19, 2015

Opening Day at the Races

Hot Springs holds a very special place in my heart. I used to go with my family on fun day trips; since dating EH we have spent several weekends every summer going out on the lake; horse races, Valentine's weekends, and easily greatest of all - we were married there!

So with warmed up weather, we headed to our favorite spot again for Opening Weekend at Oaklawn Gaming and Racing.

Lake Hamilton is beautiful no matter what time of year. 

The weather was perfect for Opening Day. Sunny, 65 and very little wind. 

"Orange Thing" in hand, we all headed off. Parking is usually found in neighboring home's driveways at $20 for the day. After a bit of walking, you enter through the unassuming North Entrance - where admission is free!

We make it a habit to arrive well before the first race takes off - this gives you time to check out your program to make your selections and hit up the new Beer Garden where the offerings are a bit better than your typical Bud or Miller Light. Though the prices are the same.

The Beer Garden is one of many smoking areas throughout the track, though the bathroom lines are usually nonexistent compared to other areas. But their beer selection (or mimosa, bloody mary and the like) makes up for it. Plus shorter lines all around.

We spent the next several hours pouring over our programs and eavesdropping from other racing enthusiasts around us. While my in-law's study and use actual reasoning when picking their horses, I tend to gravitate towards a name I connect with. Or a grey horse. Or sometimes just a feeling.

Which paid off on the 2nd race! I bet the #2 to WPS on a whim, had to be walked through placing my bet by strangers, and ended up he won! So thank you #YankeeDime for tripling my bet. Sorry I ended up wasting it all at the casino.

One thing you have to do while at the races is treat yourself to a Reuben sandwich. They are to die for.

Also, get yourself lost in the Bronx region of the track - some weird 2nd floor bar area that is ridiculously less crowded but also a mystery. None of our group had ever seen this area before and we weren't quite sure how we got there. Or out.

I thought I had taken a better picture but maybe that's just the mystique of this strange area. The beer was .50 cents cheaper. I swore mine had the faint taste of bananas.

After a trip to check out the new extended casino, we headed back to the lake house to cook dinner and hang out.

Onion and shrimp stuffed peppers wrapped in bacon.

Vegetable medley and salad.

Steak. Lots of steak.

Wine and Whiskey. Lots of that too.

I love these weekends - everyone over eats and over indulges and there is so much laughter and fun.

Moose enjoys the scenic views the most.

That was our weekend! And we've already conquered Monday so this week is off to a victorious start.

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