Bucket List: Spending a Day at the Races

My mom and I had the pleasure of joining Big Ranch Sanctuary and Max Keeping on the evening of Sunday, June 23 for the 10-year anniversary celebration at the Rideau Carleton Raceway. It just so happened that this was the perfect timing of a charity event for me, because spending a day at the races was on my Ottawa bucket list! We arrived to a fantastic silent auction, buffet dinner, an exciting race program, and birthday cake!

I had been to the races once before, but couldn’t exactly remember how everything worked, so I’ll take the time to break it down for you: The Rideau Carleton Raceway hosts year-round live standardbred harness horse racing. Live racing is presented every Thursday and Sunday; post time 6:30 pm every evening. Horse owners, trainers and riders race horses for the purse, which is the prize money. Fans also bet for the thrill and reward of winning. At the Rideau Carleton Raceway, there are hundreds of winners every 15 minutes, and 75% of all money wagered is paid back to the bettors. Sounds like good odds to me!

Now, what to do: First, you pick a horse. You can use whatever method floats your boat, but I chose to put my trust in RandomNumber.Org, rather than choosing a favourite name or studying previous outcomes. Then you choose whether you think the horse will WIN, PLACE or SHOW. Winning means that your horse has to be the first to cross the finish line. For place, you collect a payoff if your selection finishes first or second. And if you bet show, you collect if your horse finishes first, second or third. The minimum amount is $2.

At post time, the horses move into position behind the starting gate. The gate picks up speed until the starting point, then pulls away and the race is on. You can follow your horse by the driver’s colours or the saddle pad colour, which is indicated on the program. After the race, wait until the finish is declared official, then take your ticket to any window and collect your winnings.

bigsky_logoThe Rideau Carleton Raceway has been operating since 1962. And from even earlier beginnings (1886), horse racing has been Canada’s oldest form of legal gaming. Slot machines were added to this completely renovated facility in 2000, and millions of new visitors were attracted to the Rideau Carleton Raceway.

We were certainly glad to help the Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary raise funds for its favourite place and their favourite furry friends. This is the only non-kill sanctuary of its kind in Eastern Ontario, and work with many different types of animals rather than a select few. Big Sky Ranch believes that all animals deserve a second chance without a time limit.

For more information, visit www.bigskyranch.ca and rcr.net