Tuesday, June 19, 2018

a day at the races

so because our forecast for father's day weekend showed it as cooling down into the 70s and cloudy, i figured the beach might not be the best place to spend our day.  and since we'd already been up in the mountains the week before, that was out too.  and then facebook came to my rescue again as a sponsored post from santa anita race track popped up on my timeline, with a few different packages to pick from.  brunch, day drinking and horse races?  sounded good to me.  luckily, the hub agreed.  and even though we've driven past that race track a bazillion times over the years, we'd never been there together.  actually, the last time i remember going to watch the races there was probably when i was even younger than the bean.

we arrived just after noon, making our way through the crowds and finding our way to the entrance.


once we'd checked in, we were directed to the elevator that would take us up to the clubhouse for our brunch buffet.



we were given wristbands and a hat for the hub, who was already wearing one.  so he plopped it onto the bean's head for safekeeping.


from there our fabulous brunch buffet experience kind of slid downhill fast.  we were standing in a long line that we thought would lead us to a staffer who was going to seat us at a table, but no one seemed to know what was going on.  there were people scurrying around everywhere like chickens with their heads cut off, no one at the check-in table had given us any instructions, and so we just stood there waiting for help.  finally the hub went ahead of us to find out what was happening, and a few minutes later he texted me to tell us that he'd found a table.  we were sharing it with another couple who smiled but quickly picked up their stuff and skedaddled, and after putting our stuff down we headed to the buffet.

now, while we'd checked out the menu online beforehand and thought it sounded good, in reality it was - not so much.  not to mention, there wasn't a whole lot of anything at all.  there was salad with one choice for dressing.  cream cheese and capers for the smoked salmon and no bagels in sight.  pats of butter with not a single roll anywhere to be found.  the pan of mashed potatoes was empty and waiting patiently to be replaced.  there was a pan half full of some sort of fish and another with some very dry-looking chicken, and then some sliced meat in bbq sauce sitting on the table that seemed like an afterthought.  and this was all about 45 minutes into the 2-hour buffet.  huh.

the kids' buffet wasn't much better, with a pan of tater tots, some macaroni & cheese and another pan that looked like it once held some chicken nuggets.  i grabbed what i could and made my way back to the table with this:


oh well.  at least our view was pretty.



and we got to see the horses trot past us on their way to the start line for the second race of the day.





the girls and i headed down to watch the race, which we hadn't bet a penny on but enjoyed watching anyway.


we'd caught a glimpse of the dessert buffet lineup while we were making our plates, so we were hopeful that they would make up for the lackluster food we'd eaten.  too bad it looked like this when we got there:


it looked like they still hadn't gotten around to refilling those mashed potatoes:


and even the salad was completely wiped out.


the kids' buffet was still being replenished regularly though, so most of the attendees were noshing on finger foods to fill up.


and with just one bartender for the entire club court area, the hub loaded up and brought drinks for the rest of us.


the old lady finally managed to score some sweets:


and the bean snagged a plate o'tots for her still-hungry mother.


the old lady and her special friend headed down to watch the next race after taking a few bites of dessert (which wasn't terrible but also wasn't anything special).


and the hub gave the bean a crash course on horse racing, explaining all of the terms in the little booklet and showing her all the fun names of the horses.


we finally got bored enough to leave our table and on our way found that the staff had put out a plate of pb&j on the kids' buffet.


after placing bets for the next race we headed down to watch it from a different vantage point, closer to the finish line.




father's day family photo, courtesy of the special friend.


...and they're off!



we didn't win, in case you were wondering.  no biggie.  we decided to head over into the infield to see what there was to see there, and to watch the next race as the horses ran around us this time.  on o ur way to the tunnel, we came across the horses that the staffers ride when they're helping the racehorses get into position for their next run.



the bean immediately pulled out her trusty sketch pad to do a little drawing.


and i got a quick shot of the hub and his girls.


horse butt.


off to the infield.



the bean sat on one of the benches to continue drawing.


and then she discovered the huge expanse of soft grass that was perfect for relaxing on.


she did get up to watch the horses run by, while the hub went off to enjoy a cigar.


after about an hour of that, we finally tore her away to head on out of there.  the old lady asked me to take this for her before we left:


and then on our way out they both stepped up to compare themselves to the jockeys.



we decided that next time we'd come prepared like so many others had, with lawn chairs and blankets and snacks and things.  although next weekend is the last for the season, with the races not starting up again here until late september.  i guess that just gives us time to get ready and do our homework on how to pick the winning horses, amirite??

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