Thursday, January 28, 2010

Big Florida weekend plans help revive blog

This blog has stagnated since mid-November, ironically when my gainful employment ended and my free time -- that easily could be used for blogging -- increased.

That stagnation is going to get a bit of a stir this weekend, as my promised and much-anticipated (by me, anyway) trip to Florida for a visit to the reopened Hialeah Park is set for this weekend.

I've actually picked the ideal weekend to be in Miami -- as if there's a bad time, I suppose. The weekend forecast here at home in North Carolina is for a high of 28 and low of 14 with a "wintry mix."

I'm not sure I've ever traveled in the direction of warmth during winter. But this is also perhaps the ideal week of the "cold" weather racing season to be in Miami.

Saturday I plan to be at Gulfstream Park, where I will take in three of the six races in the annual challenge series between Florida and California, Sunshine Millions Day. Races being run at Gulfstream include the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf for all horses age 4 and up at a mile and an eighth, the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff for older fillies and mares at an equal distance on the main track, and the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint for older horses.

The other half of the Sunshine Millions Card, of course, will be run at Santa Anita in California. There, entrants will contest the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint, the $300,000 Filly & Mare Turf, and the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic.

On Sunday, I'll focus on the revived Hialeah Park, and it's the biggest day of the resurrected track's Quarter Horse-racing season.

Sunday's feature race will be the $100,000 South Florida Quarter Horse Derby; 3-year-olds, of course, going 440 yards. But there are other big events on the card as Hialeah marks its last weekend of its comeback season.

Race 6 of the nine-race Sunday card is the 440-yard South Florida Quarter Horse Invitational Stakes, also for 3-year-olds. The purse is $30,000 in this "consolation race" for those horses that did not earn entry into the South Florida QH Derby, later on the card.

And, Race 7, immediately prior to the Derby, will be the $25,000 Sunshine State Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, going 220 yards.

Since my flight back to the Tar Heel State actually departs quite late on Monday night, I might even make a return trip to Hialeah that afternoon. If so, there's another stakes race to be witnessed -- and a long one for Quarters -- the $30,000 Sailfish Stakes at 1,000 yards for ages 3 and up.

I hope to have some more news and insights on the trip before jetting away from North Carolina on Friday. I'll try to handicap the Sunshine Millions card and post my picks (for you to bet against) from both the Gulfstream and Santa Anita races. And with a bit of help, there might be a surprise or two in store. ... Hopefully for readers only, and not for me.

Meanwhile, anyone who is a South Florida racing scene veteran -- or knows what I ought to do with the rest of my time in Miami, when the racing is over -- please post your tips in the comments section or send me an e-mail.


  1. Have a safe and fun trip! I saw Gulfstream Park for the first time in November, and I can't wait to go see live racing there. It's small, intimate, newly refurbished, and very nice.

    I, too, am visiting a track for the first time this weekend. I leave on Friday for NY, and I have about 3 hours to kill between my flight and our dinner resevations, so I'm going to Aqueduct Racetrack for the first time. Another crossed off my list :)

    David H.

  2. Very cool, David. Enjoy the Big A. ... Depending on whether I (ever) find another job, I'll head north as the world thaws a bit. Maybe for the Wood Memorial; don't suppose there's a much better day to be at Aqueduct.

    Have a ball there, and I hope to come back from Miami with lots of photos from both Gulfstream and Hialeah.

  3. Glenn...Funny, but Brad and I were just talking early today about how your writing had fallen off in frequency and we really miss your contributions. I said I expected you would step up your writing after losing your job, and he said it's normal to lose your focus because you were out of your normal routine. He's right, and it's probably good to let your head get clear. I know I went through that for several months. Glad you're back in action.

    Since you're on a budget, instead of sending you to Joe's Stone Crabs ($$$$$) in South Beach, just get on highway 1 after leaving Gulfstream Mall, Casino and racetrack, and drive north a few miles to Dania Beach (1317 S. Federal Highway). Look for Tarks ($) on the right. It's a small dive diner (counter space only) with excellent clams, fish, oysters, and chicken wings. There's no cover charge for the entertainment (cooks and wait staff are a hoot).

  4. Ray, I have most definitely lost focus. ... Or refocused.

    Have done some traveling already; to Atlanta for a concert my daughter attended with a friend, then just me and the daughter to Boston for New Year's Eve. ... Now Florida.

    A lot of job-searching, too, with not much to show for it. Got a call-back today finally; a call I need to return Monday.

    The job is in Louisiana.

  5. Glad to hear you have a job lead, Glenn....Been wondering about that. No one is secure these days.

  6. Great to see you back. Hang in there


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