Once the excitement and activity of the holiday season are over and the new year turns, January and winter up north have a way of dampening one’s outlook.  For horseracing fans who live in the eastern time zone, a tried and true method of coping is to head way south to Gulfstream Park for a respite.  Even a short stay seems to have a curative effect.

One of the best spots at Gulfstream Park is the walking ring in the paddock area, where a person can sit and relax while basking in sunshine.  You can watch the horses being saddled for an upcoming race, read past performances, enjoy a refreshment, and view the race on TV if you don’t want to walk the short distance to the racetrack.  Not far away in the shopping center adjacent to the racetrack is a delightful yogurt shop where one can easily stroll to and fix up a blend.

The casino and simulcasting rooms at Gulfstream are usually full of people, with horseplayers betting and watching races from other tracks.  I am not one of them.  My preference is to soak in the sunshine and watch the races live.  Betting races from other racetracks can wait until I am hunkered down back home awaiting spring.

The downside of going to Gulfstream Park is getting there and back.  I drive about 15 miles from Fort Lauderdale on I-95.  The traffic is heavy and some of the drivers are rude and dangerous, moving at excessive speed and cutting in and out of traffic.  Once one departs I-95 to Hallandale and the racetrack, the traffic slows…really slows.  Sometimes it takes nearly as long to get from the I-95 Hallandale exit to the racetrack in bumper-to-bumper traffic than it does to get from Fort Lauderdale to the exit.

Somehow, at Gulfstream Park, the world’s day-to-day ebb and flow seems far away.  Stock market volatility, government shutdowns, and other worldly concerns are still important, but have a way of temporarily fading into the background as the sunshine, horses, and a clean and modern racing venue isolate a person for a few hours.

I am looking forward to soon packing my summer clothes and heading south.  Hope to see you in the paddock area or on the racetrack apron, near the rail.

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