Horse Races at Emerald Downs
Horse Racing has always been on my bucket list. I wanted to say I had been to at least one. I had no idea they were this much fun! We are lucky to have Emerald Downs just 30ish minutes from us. Best part? Military ID will get you in for free! General admission to races are $9 with children 17 and under free. Racing season is April through September.
Alright, you got me. Being from the South, I couldn't picture wearing anything else to a Horse Race besides Lilly Pulitzer. I wore one of my favorite shift dresses in my all time favorite print, Scuba to Cuba ($200). Thank you to Amazon for my last minute Derbylicious hat ($35).
The scenery here at Emerald Downs is so picturesque! You'll have a gorgeous view of Mount Ranier while you wait and watch the horses. Races are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but vary with times. Usually there are 4-6 races roughly 20 minutes apart. We went on Kentucky Derby Day. We arrived around 12:30pm to eat lunch and check out the area before the races at 2pm.
There are some exhibits inside where you can read about the history of horse racing and Emerald Downs.
There are lots of food choices but you are also allowed to bring in coolers with your own food. There is a sit down restaurant on the top floor which usually has a buffet. I recommend making reservations ahead of time. Prices are $23-32 per adult and around $12-15 for kids. There are other cheaper options like burgers, soups, fried chicken, etc that you can find on every level. There are also plenty of places to purchase alcohol and bet on the races.
Now we don't usually bet but we decided to try it for the heck of it. So we put $10 on a specific horse to win. Man is it so much more lively to watch the race when you see your horse winning and cheering them on. Our $10 turned into $50.
The large sign in the middle of the track will tell you how much time is left before post. This is a fancy way of saying how much time there is until the next race. Make sure to take the kids over to the waiting area so they can see the horses and jockeys before the race. While you can't pet the race horses, the racing officials will usually let the kids pet thier horses.
There are plenty of seating options with general admission. There are bleacher benches available as well as picnic tables. Inside you can find tables near the food areas too. If you want reserved seats and a big screen Tv to look at, there are reserved seats on the Veranda. If you want a more air conditioned feel, you can get a private box. Honestly we watched each race right on the fence at the finish line. That was the best spot to catch the action. So between races we walked around or sat on the benches.
Oh the hats. You didn't think I would write about a horse race without mentioning hats do you? We went on Kentucky Derby Day so I'm sure there were a lot more than usual. It was free admission to those wearing hats. The smaller kinds with clips or attached to headbands ar called fascinaters. Need one? Don't overpay at a Antique shop, get it off Amazon! They run $10-40 depending on type and size.
Since the Kentucky Derby is kind of a big deal, they had a competition for best hat, best dressed, best couple, and best hand made hat. Aurora won for the best dresssed kids. We go to to stand in the winners circle and watch the race from the track as well as shake the hand of the winning jockey. What an experience for our first horse race!
We tried out the buffet on the fifth floor this last time, it was a great experience! You have an assigned table and it's yours to come and go the entire day. The buffet is available from 12:30-3:30 and is all you can eat. It is $33 per adult and $15 for kids. The buffet includes unlimited water, coffee, tea, and juice as well. The inside area is a great spot to watch the races because you can see the entire track. The buffet was great and had an assortment of breakfast and lunch items as well as desserts. We ate way more than we should have.
They have all kinds of special events throughout the season, Check out emeralddowns.com for more info!
You are beautiful, You are strong, You are smart, so dress like it.
Love, Liv & Rory
Love, Liv & Rory