Friday, October 8

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Sex in the City slot machine at Hoosier Park
What do martinis, silk and Sex in the City have in common? Me...and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, located just 30 minutes from Indianapolis in Anderson. I recently accepted an invitation to see what kind of fun could be found at a horse track and casino.
Free valet parking was a great first impression, followed by friendly faces at the casino door. During the tour, I was given instructions on how to play one of the nearly 2000 slot machines...while drinking a delicious Godiva chocolate martini. Not a bad way to be schooled.

Settling on the Sex in the City pink-lighted machine, I learned to bet maximum and cash out while ahead. This theory worked with the slots and proved true, also, at the Black Jack table where I won again. (My winnings totaled $70.) Also in the casino were, exclusive to HP, organic e-games for poker, using real cards, and roulette.

The obvious effort made for the comfort of the patrons shows with the ever-changing variety of games and contests, the entertainment selection, including Boys II Men on October 9, and the numerous levels of eateries for every appetite and budget. Beginner's or lady's luck, combined with the fun factor and martinis, enhanced the idea that HP would be the perfect place for my next girls' night out.

Francisco Torres, Denny Velazquez and David Mello
I slipped over to the track side and got the pleasure of visiting the jockeys in their hideaway. The athletes were generous with their time, and I had the honor of interviewing champion-rider Francisco Torres who stated that the people at Hoosier Park "welcome me with open arms." Torres rides in nine races daily, five days per week, year 'round, ranking consistently in the top. With career purse winnings in the $41 million range, the quiet-spoken gentleman knows how to cross the line first.

Next, I met with Bob "Brownie's Picks" Brown, handicapper and lifetime expert of all horse betting. After explaining about the various numbers, jockeys and horses, Brown left me feeling ready to pick the winning thoroughbred. I checked the odds, took into account the rankings, bet...and lost. I checked my notes and bet again. I lost again.

I'm sure I missed something important in the tutoring session because I could not pick a single race correctly. Next time I'm using a time-honored scientific method...the jockey with the prettiest jersey.

Stuffed mushrooms with sweet Italian sausage
Because the HP folks know watching horses race creates a deep hunger, they reserved a table for me at Homestretch Steakhouse, overlooking the Winner's Circle. With an extensive wine list, I had no trouble selecting a Cabernet to complement my meal.

Crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms were served as starters. The mushrooms are stuffed with cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese and sweet Italian sausage, a nice twist to a standard making this my favorite item.

After an entree of New York Strip, with a side of burgundy mushrooms, I spied the dessert trolley, heavily laden with after-dinner treats. I decided to lessen its load by selecting slices of carrot cake and turtle cheesecake to drown my sorrow at losing at the track.

So often, when dining at a high-end eatery, the quality of service does not always match the price increase. The Steakhouse staff had no idea they were being reviewed. With generous portions at surprisingly reasonable prices and a friendly server who demonstrated knowledge of the wines and the menu, the Steakhouse provided some of the best service I have ever received in a restaurant. I would take it a step further and say that I would drive up to HP just for the dining experience. Be sure to ask for Jessica.

Bottom Line: There are too many items to list why we should all join in on all the fun they are having at Hoosier Park. Just take my word, it's worth the drive...

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credits: Photo submitted by Hoosier Park, Photo by Izzy Evans
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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