Playing the Ponies

I know all of you are busy catching up on all of the amazing Thanksgiving dinner posts that are out there.

I didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner.

(but they all look delicious and I am super jealous of you all.)

Since my family wasn’t really having a Thanksgiving dinner this year and because I didn’t have to work, I wound up having an untraditional holiday. My co-worker and I went to the race track.

The two of us are definitely gamblers at heart. We usually go to Nevada twice a year, but due to financial struggles, we missed out this fall. Whenever we pass Golden Gate Fields on our way back from Reno there is always a “We should go there sometime!” conversation, but as our work schedules conflict with race days, we’ve never been able to. Luckily, this year we both had Thanksgiving off and nothing to do. The plan was to get up and have him pick me up at my place at the same time we normally head for work.

Being tired and hungry when Thanksgiving morning came, we decided to stop off at a local 24 hour diner, The Lucky Penny, for breakfast before we headed across the bay.


I started off with coffee+cream. I don’t normally use cream in my coffee, but this cup wasn’t overly flavorful, so I indulged.

My friend Peter and I discussed what to have for breakfast. We both were in the mood for a typical eggs, pancakes and meat meal. There is one meal that comes with regular sized pancakes and another that comes with silver dollar sized ones. Recalling that the pancakes are normally the size of our heads, we opted to get the silver dollar sized meal. It wound up being gigantic.


Why yes, I would like some food with my butter…..yikes….

With our bellies full of reasonably tasty diner food, we hopped onto the freeway and made our way towards the ponies.


Once we got there, it was time to figure out how to make this outing a little “interesting”. Peter had been horse racing before, but it was my first time. He had planned to show me the ropes, but as it turned out, it had all become digitized since the last time he had been….he didn’t know any more than I did! I guess we’re dumb, or something, but it took us nearly an hour to figure out how to place bets using the machines. Aren’t we a sorry pair? Luckily, we did eventually figure it out. Heck, by the end, we were old pros.

bets2 bet

Don’t worry. In all of the other races, I was betting $2….I just got a little excited with that first race…cough…

Once our bets for the first race or two were in, we wandered around the various areas in the spectators sections of the track. It was a fairly nice day outside. Clear and crisp.



The problem was that it was also freezing. I don’t think it really got up past 45 degrees while we were there. After looking around a bit, we decided to get some coffee to warm up our hands.


I decided on a “cappuccino”. It came from a hot chocolate machine, cost $3.50 and tasted nothing like a cappuccino. It was warm though.

After putzing around, it was finally time for our race day to begin. I watched them set up the gates…large tractor like vehicles kept moving them around the track depending on what distance each individual race was. Interesting.

gates gates2

Eventually, there were horses.



They sort of mill around and do a stroll around the track before it is time for them to enter the gates. I made many attempts to get pictures of the race, but it all happens so fast. Never really got a good shot. Did get a few nice pictures of horses though.

horsewinner2 horsewinner

Number 2 was the winner. Those people had “sponsored” that particular race and they got to take a professional picture with the winner.

At some point our greasy spoon breakfast started to wear off and we went in search of a snack. Our options were limited. There aren’t that many concessions choices, plus not all of them were even open due to the holiday and its low attendance. Peter really likes peanuts, so we wound up with a bag of those. We almost killed the whole bag.


insidepeanuts    peanutshells

Then we resumed looking at the horses.


Number 3 was my choice for a winner. Came in 3rd. Oops.


Overall, I had a good time, but unfortunately, we learned that neither Peter nor I have the gift. We only won $2.60 a piece. We spent MUCH more than that. Fun is great, but I sure wish my wallet didn’t look like this:



What did you do for Thanksgiving? Ever been to the race track?

10 thoughts on “Playing the Ponies

  1. The horse shots are fantastic. And I just about died over your editorializing of the cappuccino! I’ve never been to the track, but I would love to go sometime!

    1. What can I say? This cappuccino was….”special”….

      You should check it out! It was fun…..especially going down to the paddock to get a closer look at the horses. So pretty!

    1. The day was good!

      The peanuts were also…probably shouldn’t have eaten so many. I think the last time I bought peanuts in the shell was at a baseball game with my father in the 90s….

  2. Hey, that seems like a fun way to spend Thanksgiving! 🙂 I wouldn’t be too worried about emptying the wallet. For a whole night of entertainment, you probably didn’t end up paying that much.

    I’m sorry I missed you at the race this morning (then again, I’m not really sure who I’m looking for, but there’s a chance I saw you!? 🙂 — I bet we’ll eventually run into each other at one of these races one of these days!! I’m sorry to hear that you missed your PR by 9 seconds! UGH! Finishing pictures are ALWAYS the worst so I really wouldn’t worry about that!! It was a brisk morning — I hope you enjoyed yourself. 🙂


    1. I kinda ended up paying too much…I’m a gambling woman! 😉

      If you saw a girl wearing a long sleeved blue Nike running shirt looking like she was just about to pass out and die right there, then you probably did see me! lol. Not my finest moment.

      I’m sure we’ll see each other some day. There’s always a race somewhere in this city, and despite how much running is challenging me lately, I keep trying to make myself go do it! I’ll be at the Christmas Classic 5K/Miracle Mile in December. Look for me. Hopefully I’ll look perkier! 😉

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