You. Yes, you. And no one’s going to drag you out of there and force you to clean horses’ stalls.
That’s because Canada Day is traditionally the day that everyone in attendance gets to "invade" normally off-limit areas and "race" from the starting gate where the horses line up and talk to jockeys and get their autographs.
So, not only will be editor of this paper, John Kendle, be in the winner’s circle (making a presentation to the winning mare in the $30,000 Canstar Canada Day stakes) and not only will about two dozen of the goofiest mascots in the city be lined up in the winner’s circle for a group picture (following the Great Mascot Race) but you can follow in their footsteps, big as those footsteps may be, afterward.
For the kids, there will also be pony rides, a bouncy gym and petting farm with exotically coloured and coiffed animals. And if you need a hug (and who doesn’t), Canada Day is truly hug extravaganza day, with those two dozen mascots ready to put their big fluffy arms around you. Feel loved already?
You can wager on the mascots, too, by making a donation to a charity — with prizes being awarded after the race.
So where you gonna be on Canada Day? Racing starts at 1:30 p.m. And be sure to bring those extra-value coupons you will find elsewhere in this paper.
Oh yes, something new for Canada Day, too: With garage sales being so popular, the Downs also came up with the idea of holding what it is calling a Gigantic Garage Sale where anyone with stuff to sell will be rented space for $50. Will there still be space as you read this? Call 204-885-3330 to find out.
About 5,000 are expected to be in attendance so this could represent a cheap and exciting way to both have your cake (the fun of live racing) and eat it too (selling stuff).
LOOSE ENDS: You read in the last column that Father’s Day was a "double bull." Predictably, two-time horse of the year Balooga Bull avenged his loss to Pleasant Closing in the previous race by holding him off in a desperate duel to the wire. And perhaps just as predictably, a Winnipeg-based pro hockey player won the contest to stay on Tequila the Mechanical Bull the longest.
Justin Kurtz, who played for the Vancouver Canucks for a season early this century and has played for the Manitoba Moose and with various European teams, lasted nine seconds — which is an eternity on a frantically-gyrating "animal." He picked up $250 and a $500 Travelodge gift pack.
Racing continues Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and, of course, holiday Mondays at 1:30 p.m. Note to a reader who wanted clarity on ASD brunches and buffets: Brunches are $29.95 and evening buffets are $32.95 (plus taxes and gratuities). Reserve at 204-885-3330. See y’all Monday at Canstar Day at the Races! In the winner’s circle!