RANDOM NOTES FROM STRAWBERRY HILL

The folks with the Virginia State Fair that organize the Strawberry Hill races were kind enough to invite us to a reception at the races Saturday. Colonial Downs also offered us a nice invite to their infield tent as well.

Watching a steeplechase meet from the 4th floor Turf Club and sky suites was an interesting experience. It provided a great bird’s eye view of the course and the sea of tents and people that were parked on the Colonial Downs racetrack which still has no dirt cushion. That condition is left over from the harness meet which conducts racing on the stone dust base. That’s a perfect surface for a tailgate parking lot.

Oddly, while it’s a perfectly normal place to watch Thoroughbred racing, the Turf Club seemed rather detached from the steeplechase main event. Of course, the view of the races was perfect. It just seemed a little detached. Sort of like being in a sky suite for a football game – the glass between the fan and the field does more than keep out the cold. The television monitors are nice, but as odd as this sounds, we had a little trouble telling what was live and what was replay when we first arrived between the first and second race.

We crossed over the still dormant and very brown Bermuda grass turf course and headed over to the Colonial Downs hospitality area. One thing was very clear besides the simple fact that the BBQ smelled good. The area was comprised of three tents – food, bar and observation. The observation tent was on top of the infield tote board. Couldn’t help but think what a great ticket that would be for either the Colonial Turf Cup or the Virginia Derby. Of course crossing that course on a big race day could be tricky, but it seems that some fans would pay big bucks for such a choice view.