Best Seat in the House
You walk into trackside of Hoosier Park, you smell the sweet butter from the all you can eat crab legs. Grasping your program, you stare out to the large windows expanding across the Terrace Showroom Stage and the Homestretch Steak House and you think, “What a view,” but I would be lying if I said it was the best view at Hoosier Park. There are many places that can make any racing fan’s heart skip– here’s nine places at Hoosier Park you didn’t know that has some pretty stellar views.
- Roof-top Camera One: Sure you have the most important part of a race, the homestretch, expanding right in front of you, but the views from camera one is second to none. The entire seven-eighths mile track is right in front of you and the sound of the horses feet hitting the ground echo off the building—it’s like music to a harness racing fans ear.
- Starting Car: Every night, there is always an extra driver on the track or I should say, two extra drivers. They are the ones in the blue with white gates. That probably gave it away, it’s the starting car! 163 days of racing, over a thousand races a season, these guys get the privilege to race along side the horses. Driving up to 35mph around the track, in the rain, snow, or shine they’ll be making the left turns with the horses and drivers. When the horses line up, they see the wild eyes and the sound of the clips and snaps clicking against the metal gate. They watch the sunset every night, they even get to watch the sun rise some mornings.
- Candy Shack: Now I know what you are thinking and no this is not a random shack on the other side of the track. It’s where the track vet and EMT hang out. Now, why do they call it the candy shack? Because they have buckets of candy for all the drivers, trainers, and grooms that stop in to visit! Luckily, they have a pretty sweet spot sitting in-between where the horses exit and enter the track.
- The Deck: Right next to the candy shack is the deck, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an actual deck open for grooms, drivers, trainers, and owners to watch the race, see the race timer and the start of the race off the gate. Luckily it is a little bit taller than the white gate surrounding the track giving it a pretty nice view with a nice gentle breeze. Unless it’s a chilly November night, then you might want to grab your ear muffs.
- Outrider: At Hoosier Park, we only have one person who actually knows how to ride a horse or should I say, who would rather be in a saddle than a sulky. The outrider hangs out in the far north-east corner of the track in a shed with his horse. With his mini TV and radio tuned in to his favorite country tunes, Neil typically kicks back and relaxes while horses warm up for the races. Unless someone needs help, then he’ll giddy-up over to save the day.
- Front Paddock: Who would’ve thought a picnic table inside would be so handy? Once you swerve past the bikes resting on the walls and the frantic grooms running around in the barn, drivers, trainers and grooms find them selves relaxing in the front of the paddock to watch the races. The paddock is a place of organized chaos, but when a race goes off a stillness hovers over the front paddock as necks are cocked up at the TV’s watching pacers and trotters make their way around the track.
- Steve Cross’s Office: Though he would disagree, because Steve is THAT humble, his office is like a quiet little stop next to the Top Of The Park. His giant window makes it pretty easy to see the both turns of the track by just turning your head. Be careful where you turn though, you might hit your head on the window. What? Don’t act like you haven’t smacked your head on a window because you got too excited about Harness Racing.
- Drivers Seat: Last, but not least the drivers seat could very well be the best seat in the house. That’s one way to view a race, I mean you actually have to drive the horse and know what you are doing while you’re at it. But that’s beside the point! It’s one thing to watch from the sidelines or the bench, but it is another to be in the race and feel the horsepower in your hands!
Content and Photos By: Grace Hollars, Race Marketing Intern at Hoosier Par Racing & Casino