Why in the world has racing not been doing this longer?! That is my first and foremost thought on this experience.
Churchill asked visitors to vote on whether they should continue to do night racing or not. With the largest crowd of the meet next to Derby, Oaks, and Breeders' Cup days, it's a no-brainer. If it isn't a no-brainer then they had to think themselves out of common sense.
Pains in the industry would be relieved by a surge in younger people becoming interested in horse racing and teaching these younger people what racing truly is, beyond the betting. Though the betting dosn't hurt. Younger generations will not only add to the typical boomer crowds, but increased handle will help ensure the continuation of Thoroughbred racing.
The crowd that I saw last Thursday night was absolutely dominated by the younger generations with the older generations still venturing around. Beer lines were tolerable and it is a good sign in my eyes when they run out of one or two domestic name brands for beverages. The only conflict was that hot dogs were sold out and it was going to be twenty minutes before the next golden batch would be ready to enjoy.
The atmosphere varied greatly with several entertainment options to choose from, which is a good thing. You had the DJs and dancing--I LOVE to dance--which Churchill continued after the races ended to have a "dance club" of sorts going. That was incredibly appealing to me and with a quality DJ a lot of young people would choose a sweet dance club alongside a premiere race course with affordable drink options. Six dollar cover charge, another plus for any bar or club night, because it is affordable and competitive with other evening locales.
Aside from the club, you could easily lounge and mingle, the people watching was abundant. With people being off work in the evening, the mix was extensive. Most people were starting their holiday weekends and I think a lot of people who can't make it to the tracks during the work days and have chores to do during the day on weekends, benefited and took advantage of the night racing.
Speaking of the racing, the excitement from the paddock to the track, including TWO dead heats on the night, was quite tangible. Of course no real blockbuster names on the race entries, but I dare say that will change. I actually traveled 70 miles to Louisville for a race night that didn't have any big names I wanted to see, or big races to witness, because of the overall experience...how many others could be in this boat? With word of mouth spreading like wildfire on the success of the three nights, aside from beer lines, success is at hand.
So again I say, Why in the world has racing not been doing this longer?!
PS There is an amazing Out of The Gate photo in this week's Blood-Horse magazine of the track lit up at night.
I will be posting a review of the movie "On The Muscle" in the blog for Your Summer Task, which is a listing of movies to watch and review and share about. Click here to visit.
Judith sent us this link on our Facebook page and I thought I should share it. What neat POV look into a horse working, and what a treat it is Zenyatta!