The 2001 McChump ??/365 Racing Tour

Our Goal: 50 Tracks in 2001. Can you say "road trip", chump?

62 Exciting Tracks! 39 Exotic States and Provinces! 27 Thrilling Stories! (so far)

  • Fair Grounds, New Orleans, LA, Jan 27-28, 2001

Sometimes that accidental number pays off.

  • Lone Star Park, Grande Prairie, TX, Feb. 18, 2001

It was a day like any other in Simulcast City, a dark, dreary, and humorless day. At this simulcast pavilion in a major metroplex, the words f*ck and sh*t were overheard a great deal from the humorless unsmiling patrons, as befits a house of dark and drear.

  • Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, AR, Mar 3-4, 2001

It was a quick trip. We tried out Instant Racing. Can't see the attraction. Whaddya want. Just some pictures.

  • Sportsman's Park, Cicero, IL, Mar 11, 2001

What with it being a nice late winter day in Chicago on Sunday, and rumors of all the old gang going to be out at the track, I determined to make my way down to Cicero and check out all the fan friendly improvements Sportsman's has supposedly made to the Speedway. And of course to win some money, if possible. And what a day it was.

  • Hialeah Park, Hialeah, FL, Apr 7-8, 2001

Some photos of Hialeah Park, a gem we're about to lose.

  • Aqueduct, Ozone Park, NY, Apr 21, 2001 (Track #104)
  • Suffolk Downs, East Boston, MA, Apr 22, 2001 (Track #105)

Just pictures.

  • Santa Cruz County Fair, Sonoita, AZ, Apr 28, 2001 (Track #106)
  • Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ, Apr 29, 2001

Just some pictures.

  • Laurel Park simulcasts, Laurel, MD, May 2, 2001
  • Garden State Park, Cherry Hill, NJ, May 3, 2001
  • Atlantic City Racecourse, McKee City, NJ, May 4, 2001
  • Tropicana simulcasts, Atlantic City, NJ, May 4, 2001

Just some pictures, including lots of the soon-to-be-closed Garden State Park and the amazingly "I'm not dead yet!" Atlantic City Racecourse.

  • Delaware Park, Wilmington, DE, May 5, 2001
  • Cracked Claw OTB, Frederick, MD, May 5, 2001
  • Charles Town Races, Charles Town, WV, May 5, 2001
  • Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, MD, May 6, 2001

Just some pictures.

  • Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney, IL, May 12, 2001

Honest to God there was a ton of people there! It was notable! The most notable thing besides people was a 3 y.o. Volponi running in the Hawthorne Derby on the grass, and finishing 5th.

But it wasn't really notable enough to write more about. Or take a picture.

  • Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie, TX, May, 2001

I'm sure there was something very deep and very interesting I meant to mention about racing at Lone Star during May when I visted several times, but when it comes down to it, all I got is a few pictures from May 28 when Hallowed Dreams ran and won the Valid Expectations and Dixie Dot Com ran away with the Lone Star Handicap. Good times, good times.

  • Les Bois Park, Boise, ID, May 26, 2001
  • Columbia County Fairgrounds, Dayton, WA, May 27, 2001 (Track #107)
  • ... and some travels on the Nez Perce Trail

Just some pictures. Dayton was the cutest little town, down a winding road and tucked away in rolling hills covered with green wheat in SE Washington. Fun day of racing and better than average views of wheat. And Les Bois? Well, it was on the way, as it often was. The road back through the mountains passed by the Spalding mission, so there was a highbrow history component to this trip, too. 

  • Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, IL, Jun 14, 2001

I really could not get over how mostly quiet and deserted Arlignton was whenever I visited in 2001. After all, Illinois racing had just been given huge gifts by the Assembly a year before when new Gov. George Ryan was cutting mega-deals to reopen AP (as well as other things) after DD's 1997 "shut 'er down" snit fit.

  • Assiniboia Downs, Winnipeg, MB, Jun 23, 2001
  • Chippewa Downs, Belcourt, ND, Jun 24, 2001 (Track #108)

What a trip this one was. Wanted to visit Chippewa Downs for awhile just to say I had, but wow this track is out in the middle of North Nowhere, North Dakota, just over the line from Manitoba. Never could fit it into any kind of logical loop of tracks on a mini-tour. Finally just decided "screw it" and went for a two track quickie.

Plan was to fly from Chicago to Some Bumble, North Dakota, then rent a car and drive to Winnepeg to visit Assiniboia again, then down to Chippewa, then back to Some Bumble, and home. Just a long weekend. On paper, it made some halfway economic sense when a cheap plane fare presented on one of those last minute fare things, and the rent-a-car and one night in motel was reasonable, I thought. So off I went.

Well, first and foremost, after the previous visit to Assiniboia and singing its praises and getting a DRF writeup, I kind of had a standing invitation to "Call Us! If you come again!" from folks there, which by this time had mostly turned over, with Susie Sourwine moved on, and a gentleman I did not know in charge of the marketing. But I emailed anyhow and told them I was coming, not knowing exactly what to expect.

I was a bit aghast when I arrived and checked in with the marketing guy and was offered a free buffet, and what the hell are you going to do? I ate it, and hey here's my Assiinboia report - they have a pretty good buffet! but then I didn't know what to do. Felt like the bogus was on me to produce another glowing review of Assiniboia Downs, while also feeling like a sellout chump for having accepted that dinner. So I did what I always do when faced with a conundrum like that, which was froze and nothing at all. Just did some betting, had a few beers, and departed. Never wrote about that night until now. But it was a good buffet. Thanks, Assiniboia.

The next day was a looping and scenic two-laner trip down to the Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation at Belcourt ND and the track somewhat outside town, which I finally found with just a minimum of gettin-lost. This is a really little fair type track, and the racing is little fair track type racing, too, but I soon got sidetracked from the racing, fascinated listening to all my fellow race fans talking.

Here we had the perfect intersection of three worlds, with the Canadian "aboots" accents and "eh?", and North Dakota/Minnesota nordic honyocker, and the soft Native American lilt that always ends in a question. It was a musical symphony of human speech without the singing. I enjoyed it immensely and spent the day just enjoying that symphony, with the horse racing totally background.

What I did not enjoy was turning my car in at the rental agency later, in Some Bumble, ND, and learning that no, I did not have unlimited mileage like I thought I did, and owed an extra $360 due to that that big long loop. Oops. Most expensive two tracks ever,

  • Charlie Russell Downs, Great Falls, MT, Jun 30, 2001
  • Millarville Racetrack, Millarville, AB, Jul 1, 2001 (Track #109)

I ain't gonna kid you, chump.

The main reason for making this particular Independence holiday trip to Montana and the great beyond was to visit the Millarville Races. But it didn't hurt any that I got to visit friends in the meantime, and also drop in on a small Western meet that's continually threatening to go belly up any year now.

  • 4 County Marias Fair, Shelby, MT, Jul 21, 2001 (Track #110)

Finally made it to the Shelby, MT, meet this year, after disappointments of years past. And brought back nothing put pictures.

  • Multiple Stories and Another Noble Quest
  • 25 tracks in less than two months

One chump's racing tour of a lifetime

and a charity fundraiser to boot

Free at last, free at last! Thank God amighty I'm free at last!

  • Keeneland, Lexington, KY, Oct 20-21, 2001
  • Great Lakes Downs, Muskegon, MI, Oct 22, 2001
  • Penn National, Grantville, PA, Oct 24, 2001
  • The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ, Oct 25, 2001 (Track #124)
  • Belmont Park, Elmont, NY, Oct 26, 2001

Well, ya can't drive all the way from Chicago to New Yawk City to see the BC and visit just one racetrack, can ya? So I didn't. I made it a 12 tracks and one historic monument trip.

But it was a whirlwind. Just scans of track programs, and pix of some of the tracks.

  • Philadelphia Park, Bensalem, PA, Oct 28, 2001
  • Thistledown, North Randall, OH, Oct 29, 2001
  • Mountaineer Race Track, Chester, WV, Oct 29, 2001
  • Beulah Park, Grove City, OH, Oct 31, 2001
  • Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY, Nov 1, 2001

Part 2 of the 13 stop trip to the 2001 Breeders' Cup and back.

Just scans of track programs, and pix of some of the tracks.

  • Hoosier Park, Anderson, IN, Nov 1, 2001
  • Fairmount Park, Collinsville, IL, Nov 2, 2001
  • Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney, IL, Nov 3, 2001

Part 3 of the 13 stop trip to the 2001 Breeders' Cup and back.

Just scans of track programs. Not even any pics of these visits.

  • Sam Houston Race Park, Friday, November 23, 2001
  • Lone Star Park (QH meet), Sunday, November 25, 2001

Friday, November 23, 2001, Houston, TX:

The McChump Party, much like Arlo Guthrie, had experienced a "Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat" the day before, highlighted by a sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecan crust, tres yummy!, but today was a day for important stuff.

  • The University of Arizona RTIP Symposium - 2001

RTIP 2001 brochure I thought it might be a nice idea to go back to the Symposium again this year, and find out what's new since last time. Unfortunately, this summer's travel had put a powerful hurt on the McChump Industries executive travel budget, and that stingy organization nixed the idea. Those dogs! Fortunately, as President of the Kelly Sampson Fan Club, I have some powers regarding the Fan Club's retirement fund "investments", so here I am, signed up and attending the Symposium as President, KSFC.

It's a legitimate expenditure! Honest!

  • Hollywood Park, Inglewood, CA, Dec 8-9, 2001
  • Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ, Dec 10, 2001

I'd never visited Hollywood Park, so I though maybe I better rectify that situation. And who better to help with rectification than that debonair rascal McChump #2, in a combo Turf Paradise/Hollywood Park weekend? Plus old friend and track running buddy from Chicago now a So. Cal. resident, Stuart S. So off we went.

Not much of a story recorded, but a few pictures. But I am here to tell you, this weekend Mchump #2 was truly The King at the windows. I might poke fun at hm some times, but not the weekend. You were the king, schlub.

  • Delta Downs, Vinton, LA, Dec 27, 2001
  • Fair Grounds, New Orleans, LA, Dec 28, 2001
  • ... and a weekend in Acadiana

Yeah, the McChump Party went. Needed a break, so drove down from Dallas one weekend I was visiting there and visited FG and Delta.

Just a couple pix.