Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Got the Horse Right Here ...

And they're off!
And they're off! I spent a day at the races on Saturday with Nick, Andy and his friend Wee-yun at Seoul Race Park. Located 3 stops south of Sadang on the No. 4 line, it is a very nice facility, containing HappyTown and LuckyTown. Admission is 800 W (why even bother?) I must say that the procedure for placing a bet is a bit more complicated than it used to be at Birmingham, in the 1990s. There, you might walk up to the betting window with two bucks and say something like, "I'd like to put this on Happy Camper to win in the fourth."

In Korea, fifteen years later, it's a little different. To place a bet, first you fill out a scantron betting slip ...

Nick filling in betting slip

... then you take some money to the girl at the betting window. She will convert your cash into a slip of paper or chit which you take to the betting machine and insert in Slot A ...

Insert money chit in Slot A
... Next you insert the betting slip you filled out in Step 1 above. The machine will read your bet or bets and ask you to verify the wager you entered. Blue means it's all correct ...

wager screenshot
... After that, he machine will deliver a bet ticket. When you have completed your transactions, it will give you a new money chit which shows how much cash you have left in the system.

machine deliversager slip
Now you go to the Foreigners' Lounge (with the pass you got when you signed in on arrival--it's on the 4th floor, and is no extra charge) to watch the race. Here is what the last quarter-mile might look like from the foreigners' box:

race No. 5 in the home stretch
It's up to you, but before you make your wagers, you may wish to go to the paddock and inspect the horses as they parade before the race.

paddock parade
Here are two views (outside and inside) of the grandstand, which is currently being renovsted:

Seoul Race Park grandstand
Seoul Race Park grandstand
I went down to track level to get some action shots, and noticed that many folks had used the ubiquitous felt tip pens provided by the track to sign the rail, so I followed suit:

Preserved for a little while
Like at any course, the track is smoothed between races, as the horses are coaxed into the gate.

race preparations
Here are two pictures of the home stretch of the seventh race, which at 1700 m. was the second longest of the day. Race 11 was the longest at 2000 m., and had the largest purse at 44 million won for first place. The total wagered on the race was 531 million.

action shot at Seoul Race Park
action shot at Seoul Race Park

Yeah, I bet on horse #8 to win. The lavender cap and teal outfit grabbed me, what can I say? There may be horse-betting "systems" more remunerative (I stress 'may'), but none more colorful. Anyway, win, place or show--or even also-ran--there's no better system for identifying which horse is yours!


Tanner Brown said...

Of course what we all want to know is, was there beer?

And I take it #8 didn't win, although you left us hanging on that point. Oh you tease, you.

shemoxf [the word-verification word I had to type to post a comment]: A woman who pretends to be having breathing problem.

Tuttle said...

No, there was no beer, or alcohol of any kind; however, there was no security check, either, so bringing an appropriately kitted-out backpack seems feasible.

I won only one wager, a quinella that paid out 1,400 W, but accidentally threw away the ticket.