You know, my grandpa used to take me down to River Downs a lot. We’d ride the bus from Government Square to the track and I always loved hangin’ with gramps. Not just for the free sodas and hot dogs he’d buy me, but for the whole atmosphere of the track and Coney Island next door. You had the crowd, the announcer, the bugle to signal the start of the race, and then, “they’re off” and the monstrous beasts would fly around the track with reckless abandon until someone came across and grandpa would lament the loss of his $2.00 or the fact that the quinella was backwards, and we’d board the bus back to Cincy and the walk back up the hill to Clifton and hit the Clifton Cafe for a quick beer before returning to grandmas most excellent home cooked dinners and the stories of the almost, and the could have beens. All in all a most excellent time for a child. I loved that time.
I miss the old days, of course, but it has been a blast visiting the track these last 15 years with my camera and reminiscing about how things used to be. Just being around the track was something that made me feel comfortable, and I guess there is comfort in what is familiar.
Enter Belterra Park and the end of an era. River Downs is no more and she will be missed. However, even with the changes, there is still a feel of the old track. The grandstands are about 1/3 the size of the old, but they have the same feel. Concessions and wagering windows have been drastically decreased and access around the track is a bit more limited, but all in all, it felt comfortable and inviting for the most part. I guess the thing I will miss the most is the 360 access to the perimeter of the track. Still in effect are free entry and free parking, though the beer selections have not changed much. lol
Here’s a couple shots from last Saturday with Ohio Valley Camera Club.
More horse racing and equestrian shot can be seen here. Thanks for looking.