Horse racing is often called "The Sport of Kings," a throwback to the days when the cultural elite would amuse themselves by watching horses race each other atop local monarchs. Though the rules of the sport have changed slightly, the palpable excitement remains, and today's Groupon will let you palpate it all day: for $10, you get admission, a program, and $10 worth of food and drink at Emerald Downs in Auburn (up to a $19.50 total value). This Groupon is good for any live race date on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday through September 25. See the 2011 live racing calendar to plan your equine excursion.
Admission to Emerald Downs includes all-day access to the first five levels of the stadium, the paddock, and the park (up to a $7 value; those aged 17 and under get in free). The paddock gives potential bettors an opportunity to assess each speed-steed's swagger and keep an eye out for subtle clues such as hooves with rocket boosters. Attendees will also obtain a plethora of information after reading the included souvenir program (a $2.50 value). Watch the jockeys get on their high horses in the pre-race promenade, see them to the Winner's Circle, then spend a while decompressing in the grassy park. The $10 food and drink ticket furnishes spectators with enough energy to withstand a long day of wins, places, and pity-claps at the Downs.
A day at the races is a civilized and underpracticed way to break free from life’s mundanity and enjoy the sweet summer air amid the thrilling frisson of low-stakes gambling. Don your most extravagant wide-brimmed hat and revive the horse-powered dreams that died with the engine of your ’79 Vanagon.
A day at Emerald Downs can take on many forms. Some visitors sprawl across blankets in the facility's park, while some scoot to the edge of their reserved seats in the grandstand. Still others relax in the Redhook Turf Club, an all-inclusive, members-only area for dining, wagering, and watching the races. It's this flexibility that has made Emerald Downs a popular summer destination since 1996. On every level, the stadium features self-service or clerk-operated betting windows, and its programs come packed with jockey bios, postpositions, and other bettor-friendly tools. Even during non-racing season, Emerald Downs offers full-card simulcasting so fans don't have to resort to betting on slowly drifting clouds.