Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rail Birds

 Normally if I am writing about rail birds, I am talking about the very rare and esoteric form of hunting where we chase migratory rails from ancient punt boats in the rice marshes of the Maurice river in Jersey.
 Today I refer to the term rail bird as it applies to racetrack patrons who hang on the rail watching the "Sport of Kings."

 It was our anniversary weekend. So the wife and I traveled east to Bay Head,NJ to enjoy the beautiful weather last weekend afforded. We relaxed on the beach most of the day Saturday and part of Sunday.
But a Sportsman and his bride crave a little action at some point. Plus, when you are in Bay Head you are a short drive to one of the nicest tracks on the East Coast short of Saratoga. Monmouth is not crowded this time of year and their meet is almost over. We washed the sand from our feet and headed to the track.
 Each Summer "The Haskell" runs at Monmouth: a grade 1 race with a huge purse. Each winning jockey/horse from this race is memorialized with a statue with a plaque giving details of the victory. Some of these statues are arranged in a nice grove just outside the paddock area.
 My wife and I headed to the paddock to pick our horse. We bet across the board on #5 in the 7th race
 Sure enough, this speedster went wire to wire and we cashed a nice ticket.
 The balance of the day was not as lucrative. We missed a trifecta by a nose and only cashed a a show ticket on another race. Regardless, the weather was perfect, the horses were beautiful and  there was no crowd to annoy us. The cocktails were easily acquired. A perfect ending to a great weekend for a couple of rail birds.

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