I’m no gambler. I have more than enough frivolous pursuits to spend my hard-earned wages on, and I really don’t find games of chance all that much fun. That said, however, PrettyWife and our lifetime friends, the SpeedyCouple, do enjoy dropping a few bucks in the machines a couple times a year- and I enjoy hanging with them, people watching. This Sunday afternoon we were looking for something a bit different, so the four of us headed an hour east into Pennsylvania, to the Presque Isle Downs and Casino. Turns out Sundays and Wednesdays are “Family Nights” at the races. The casino requires folks 21 and over, but the track is open to all ages (no gambling for the kids, of course), with the added bonus of $2 burgers and $1 hot dogs. Not sure how I feel about kids at a gambling establishment, but they seemed to be having fun watching the races- and it’s quite the bargain in family entertainment!
The Presque Isle casino was nice, but still just a casino with standard machines in smoking and non-smoking sections. There’s several restaurants inside, though Brew Brothers on the 2nd floor, with several tables overlooking the racing, was definitely the coolest. We just grabbed burgers and fries from Favre’s Grill at the track, which was tasty enough (and family night CHEAP!), but we intend to sample Brew Brothers on our next visit to the downs. None of that really mattered though- we were there for the thoroughbreds!
With minimal knowledge of the ins and outs of track gambling, the ever-shy (HA!) ladies of our quartet bought a program and picked a friendly gentleman at the counter to question about track protocol. Within minutes, they had just enough knowledge to be dangerous, so we set about picking horses with the coolest names (yep, that scientific!) to put a couple dollars on. Within 15 minutes, I think we were already down a whopping $6! Watching the gorgeous horses thunder past with their wildly colored jockeys at the reins was pretty exciting, and choosing a horse to root for added to the thrill. We learned there are eight feature races of differing lengths, and Presque Isle Downs moves the start gate to various points on the track depending on race length. We learned a bit about the different races, and the different horses in each. We even won a couple bucks on a couple races (though we still lost more than we won)!
When three of four of us chose Presque Isle Downs and Casino for our entertainment, I was somewhat less than thrilled. I have to admit, though, this turned out to be a great way to spend a warm summer afternoon/ evening. The racing was very cool, the folks all friendly, and the outdoor facility was clean and modern. I love any motorsport racing, now I’ve discovered horses racing (real horsepower!) are also fast, and a thrill to watch. I still have a hard time with tossing money away on chance, but for an occasional kick, betting on the horses is way more exciting than dropping virtual quarters in a machine!
Keep Riding Local, Dreaming Global- Enjoy!