For my birthday this year, we decided to get out of town. The nearest racetrack is Oaklawn at Hot Springs, but they run in the spring. The nearest track with racing right now is at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. The racetrack is without booze, which seems to be a running theme in our move to The South. Luckily, we stayed in Fort Smith, bastion of wet counties in western Arkansas.
We checked out the downtown in Fort Smith on Friday. The town has a very complex mix of people of Vietnamese, Native American, Mexican, Caucasian, and other southeast Asian heritage. This made for a very wonderful trip to a Vietnamese Pho (delicious noodle soup) restaurant, as well as a very good Thai Curry place called Bangkok Cafe. Friday we went downtown, checking out places to eat, antique stores, and a yarn shop, where I got my birthday present from Ty. (I KNOW! The entire trip was a birthday present!) We went down to the banks of the Arkansas River, which was running fast and full and furious. Check it out, in the picture I’m wearing the yarn I got from Ty for my birthday 2 years ago!
On the night of my birthday, toasted champagne in our hotel room. Then we went a martini bar called 21 West End for dinner and creme brulee, and martinis of course.
Saturday morning we headed out to the western wear shop. I am enamored with a brand called Southern Threads. They have delicate, almost china-like patterns on the shirts for men. All of the women’s clothing had bright colors and too much glitter, or were too pastel in bad ways. Ty found some cool shirts though!
We drove on to the racetrack, and we stayed in the clubhouse since it was chilly outside. My only gripe with the track, besides the booze, was the exacta box betting scheme. At every other track we have been to, we have been allowed to bet $1 per exacta box bet, as long as the number of bets being bet were greater than two. We like boxing 3 horses, so it is normally a $6 bet. At Blue Ribbon downs, it is a $12 bet, a little too rich for my blood. It really didn’t matter, because we didn’t win anything until the 8th race, when I bet a $.10 superfecta and won!
Most of the races that day were quarter horses, appaloosas and paint horses. They only race the straightaway for 250-450 yards, which makes them hard races to handicap. We went back to Ft. Smith and had Thai food.
I got some really cool other gifts for my birthday, but those will have to wait for my next post!