Monday, September 15, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for New Experiences - A Day at the Races

Miami life is constantly begging for our attention. There is so much to do at any given moment that our social calendars can border on a "Honey Do" list. It is ironic, then, that Miami-ans can still suffer from occasional boredom. A boredom caused partially by an overwhelming amount of social stimuli and partially by a monotonous routine. Today, we help you sort through the social white noise and fight boredom by sharing with you an experience that breaks our norm: horse racing.

We do not consider ourselves horse people or gamblers, but we are fans of new experiences. So, without any prior knowledge of the sport, we joined America's Best Racing for a day at Gulfstream Park's thoroughbred race track. Our biggest surprise was learning that there is a large horse racing community in Miami that gathers from Thursday through Sunday at Gulfstream Park. But don't be intimidated by the regulars - most are welcoming of new fans. Plus, thanks to America's Best Racing, we picked up 5 tips so you can also join in on the fun:

1. Dress casually. With the exception of horse owners and other big wigs, the spectators were dressed fairly casually. So, unless you are an owner or you feel like dressing up, save your finer attire for the Kentucky Derby. We chose to dress up to do justice to the perfectly coiffed locks and glam make-up look that our friends at True Hair Miami gave us.

2. Don't worry about being punctual. The first race at Gulfstream Park begins at 1:15 p.m. However, depending on the day, races will continue at regular intervals until the early evening. You can show up for one race or stay for the entire afternoon - when you arrive is up to you. Just make sure you do your research if you want to watch a specific race.

3. Eat upstairs, watch downstairs. We began our afternoon at the Ten Palms restaurant, where we lunched while we watched the races through the second-story windows and on the monitors provided at every table. In between races, we watched and bet on races happening at partner parks throughout the U.S. like Belmont Park in New York. While the atmosphere was lively during each race, it did not compare to the excitement going on downstairs by the rail.

4. Uncomplicate betting. Betting can be intimidating - there are straight wagers where you bet only on one horse and exotic wagers where you bet on multiple horses in a variety of combinations. We defer to the Art of Manliness to give you more details on how to bet on horses. If you want to bet in person, get your details in order before you get in line - maybe watch a few people do it first. Or, skip the hoopla and use one of the betting machines stationed throughout the park so you can do it at your own pace.

5. Have fun. No matter how much research you do, betting by definition is gambling on an unpredictable event. Sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. Focus on the parts that are in your control like sharing a gorgeous Miami afternoon with your friend at the races!

A huge thanks to America's Best Racing for a fabulous day! Photo credit: Vince Mathews.
Have you ever been to a horse race? If so, at what race track? Have you visited Gulfstream Park? For shopping, dining or for races? What are you most excited to experience at your first horse race? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

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