Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Kentucky Derby Thud at Rosecroft Raceway
I'm not a big player of the horses, but I like to go the Rosecroft Raceway to bet on the Triple Crown races. For as close as it is to downtown DC (10 miles, maybe), once you get there, you are worlds away, which is a big part of the lure for me. (Also, gas is cheaper out there.) I tradionally get there well before the feature race of the day, place some bets for friends, and place a couple of bets for myself on the day's particular feature race, as well as anything else that might catch my eye. I return home in time to watch the race on TV, although now I have to do this after sneaking away from my dog, who seems to think the horses are in our living room and if he wiggles around, whining and barking, they'll play with him.

Things were different this year, though. For reasons that I still don't fully understand, the track had lost their Simulcast signal. Not "lost" in the way that you lose a radio station when you're driving in your car, but "lost" in the way that someone comes to your house and takes your car -- radio and all -- if you stop making payments. Rosecroft had protested this action, and, according to frequent announcments over the intercom, was making its case before a federal court, with the hope that things would be settled and people would be able to vote on the Derby.

I figured I'd wait things out for a while. I stopped by the bar, and got a canned Corona from the great bartender (named Rose!) who has been there for as long as I can remember, and still appears genuniely surprised when you give her a tip. I stopped by the snack bar for a chilli dog. I'm not big on chilli with beans, but they do it right here. Then I found the one TV, of hundreds, that had the hockey game on it, which I watched while I ate and drank and listened to people bitch about having lost their shot at financial independence.

I was at the track from roughly 2:00PM to 4:20PM. They said they'd have word from the court by 4:00PM, which was about the time that the frequent announcements on the intercom suddenly ended. I guessed that meant they lost. So I headed to my car, drove to Smoke Shack to pick up ribs, and went home. I looked at the whole episode as unfortunate, but one that would ultimately save me money, as I know it did for the people I was supposed to place bets for. But everyone else was certain that this was costing them the opportunity to make a big score. They were unhappy. I felt bad for people like Rose and the other workers at the track, who had probably been looking forward to one of their biggest days, and instead gotten their worst day. That's never fun.

Later during the weekend, I saw this on their website, so I guess you were eventually able to bet, although I'm not sure if I believe anything from such a poorly run outfit. I checked the website Friday evening, and there was no mention of the controversy, just marketing material about coming to join them to bet on the Kentucky Derby. Maybe a good way to make amends to the hundreds of people that journeyed out to beautiful Ft. Washington, MD, might be to update the website to show an apology or explanation. Instead, though, they've chosen to ignore the issue, showing the contempt for their customer which is ultimately going to doom this place. Which is a shame.