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Fountain of Youth opens Sunday

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Can I say this? Going to the races makes you feel young.

I think it’s because you shed your inhibitions, forget your cares in life and jump up and down like a little kid as you cheer your horse to the wire.

The guy or gal who came up with this saying got it right: "A bad day at the races is better than a good day anywhere else."

Well, for all you young and young-thinking readers, the Fountain of Youth, live racing, kicks off Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the junction of Portage Avenue and the Perimeter Highway. I’ll bet your pulse rate goes up a notch when you turn off Portage onto Race Track Road and see the giant imposing structure of the Downs and imagine what’s in store.

And what is in store? Sixty days of thundering hooves and many storylines. Will fan favourite and two-time Horse of the Year Balooga Bull continue in his thrilling, winning ways? What about the jockey wars? Namely, the two riders who knocked heads last year for the jockey title.

Will young Saskatchewan native Jennifer Reid turn the tables on seasoned grizzled veteran Englishman, Paul Nolan, who beat her to the title by one mere win? Who’s your money on?
And look who’s new in town! A tough as nails but sweet as sugar young Irish woman, Tori Gandia, who survived a gruelling jockey boot camp to get where she is today. Will she be the spoiler? And what about South American rider Adolfo Morales? He did the near-impossible in his native Peru by winning the Quadruple Crown.

Yes, many storylines. But first things first: there’s a brand-new $6 combo wager bet that should tickle your fancy — and maybe load up your pockets, too! (You get $1 off on opening day.) Plus family fun — pony rides, a petting farm, a bouncy gym and more for the kids.
And Saturday will be a monster day in simulcast racing because Goldencents, the foal of a Manitoba mare, has a chance to win the Kentucky Derby. Historic or what? There will be free souvenir glasses for the first 200 (starting 10 a.m.) and a chance for you to win a $1,400 gold wafer.

So whatcha doin’ this weekend? Sitting home and adding up your real or imagined woes? Or flinging them off into the wind as you turn off Portage Avenue and head down Race Track Road?

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